Adelani Adepegba, Abuja
A bout 3,000 Niger Delta militants have threatened to embark on a protest that will halt activities in the Federal Capital Territory over the alleged refusal of the Federal Government to include them in the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
The ex-agitators, who described themselves as members of the Justice Group, issued a one-week ultimatum to the Amnesty Office to document them for integration into the exercise or face the wrath of the group.
Addressing reporters in Abuja on Wednesday, the president of the group, ‘Gen.’ David Owhegbe, demanded the sacking of the Amnesty Programme Coordinator, Prof Charles Dokubo, “for poor leadership”.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a Niger Deltan as his aide on Niger Delta, insisting that the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta should be separated from the Coordinator, Amnesty Programme, for efficiency.
Owhegbe said, “Any further delay to include the 3,000 ex-agitators in the Amnesty Programme as promised would negate the current efforts of the Federal Government to enthrone peace in Niger Delta.
“We have not benefitted from any of the amnesty programmes and we are giving the Amnesty Office one week or there will be a massive protest in the Federal Capital Territory.”
The group’s Assistant Secretary, ‘Gen.’ Gowon Iduma, who read a communiqué on behalf of the ex-militants, said they surrendered their weapons to the government following pledges that they would be integrated into the programme.
He added that failure to involve them in the rehabilitation programme might threaten the peace being enjoyed in the Niger Delta region.
Spokesman for Amnesty Office, Murphy Ganagana, could not be reached for comment as he did not respond to calls to his phone. He had yet to reply an SMS sent to him as of the time of filing this report.