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|Militants Plan Protest Rally In Abuja by trueword: 9:11am On Jan 17, 2010|
Amnesty under threat as militants plan protest rally in Abuja
By Fidelis Soriwei, Published: Sunday, 17 Jan 2010
Strong indications emerged again on Saturday that the celebrated amnesty programme of President Umaru Yar‘Adua may have come under serious threat.
This is coming as the militants have concluded plans to travel to Abuja to stage a protest march against the slow implementation of the exercise.
Investigations by SUNDAY PUNCH revealed that some of the militant leaders who embraced the state pardon and promise of an improved standard of living were fast losing faith in the Federal Government initiative. The subdued tension among the militants, it was gathered, has hurriedly made the amnesty committee schedule another meeting with them on Thursday, January 21, 2010.
A top member of the amnesty committee who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity on Saturday said several militant leaders had complained bitterly about being excluded from the various meetings between the government and their colleagues.
The source said that some of the leaders especially the educated ones from Rivers State were aggrieved that the programme had been hijacked by a prominent figure in the Presidency to favour a select group of persons.
Those so far frustrated by the slow pace of the exercise, the source disclosed, include Ateke Tom, Egberi Papa, Boska Rhyme, Adekunle, Osama, and others who had surrendered their weapons in consonance with the spirit of the amnesty.
The growing anger is coming on the heels of resumed vandalisation of an oil pipeline belonging to Chevron Nigeria Limited at the Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State and the abduction of four foreign expatriates in Abia State by rampaging gunmen.
According to the source, there are strong suspicions that the few oil-related violence in the region may have been carried out to demonstrate their disillusionment with the exercise so far.
For instance, many of the militants were said to have asked some members of the amnesty committee about the modalities for the selection of their representatives during meetings with the Federal Government officials.
It was further learnt that some contracts awarded to the militant leaders in the early weeks of December to prevent them from going on the rampage had contributed strongly to the growing resentment in the region.
The contracts were said to have been awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission to enable them to raise some funds for the repentant militants in the various camps who were getting restive about the delay in the payment of their allowances during the Yuletide.
It was gathered that while some of the militant commanders who did not get the contracts were angered by the development, there was also a growing tension among the militants that their leaders might have collected the proceeds from the contracts without making the expected payments to them.
However, further investigation conducted by our correspondent revealed that the NDDC which mobilized the militant leaders for the contracts on the clearing of waterways had delayed the payment as the management allegedly insisted that full payment could only be made after the completion and certification of the jobs. The militants were also said to have rejected the various programmes outlined for them in the programme and the institutions (the NDE) selected for the planned training.
Many of the militants were also said to have protested the barbing, furniture making, soap making, house keeping, decoration, and among other training programmes facilitated by the National Directorate of Employment for them.
However, the President of the Ijaw Youth Council, Dr. Chris Ekiyor, said that the attack on the Chevron facilities was a labour issue which the council was handling.
He said that those who carried out the vandalisation were workers protesting the killing of their colleague by a soldier whose father was a victim in the Gbaramatu invasion.
Meanwhile, attempts by our correspondent to reach out to the Minister of Defence and Chairman of the Amnesty Programme, Maj.Gen. Godwin Abbe, failed as he did not pick the repeated calls placed to his mobile telephone.
He also did not respond to a text message sent to his mobile telephone.
|Re: Militants Plan Protest Rally In Abuja by trueword: 9:18am On Jan 17, 2010|
wow. the militants have picked up the spirit of protesting. Soyinka and all the protest leaders need to find a way to get these militants to join them in their marches and mobilize them for further action because they are very unhappy with the government.
|Re: Militants Plan Protest Rally In Abuja by saintneo(m): 9:42pm On Jan 17, 2010|
hope they don't rape innocent people
|Re: Militants Plan Protest Rally In Abuja by Beaf: 9:44pm On Jan 17, 2010|
Then the next protest might be very very different from what we know.
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