RSG Will No Longer Operate Amnesty Programme –Wike …Ex-N’Delta Militants Demand Programme Overhaul
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, said the state will no longer operate an amnesty programme.
Speaking when he received the Ekpeye Traditional Rulers from Ahoada East and Ahoada West Local Government Areas at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Tuesday, Wike said some cultists or criminals who turn in their arms still go back to commit the crime after being granted amnesty, hence the reason for his decision.
He said: “I am being very careful about Vigilante Groups in all the Local Government Areas because of what OSPAC is doing. They are now going beyond their boundaries. We will reintegrate OSPAC into the State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency. Anyone who wants to support the security structure should join the State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency. We will not approve Local Vigilante for different Local Government Areas”.
“Some of the criminals may pretend to have repented, only for them to renege after re-arming themselves.Rivers State Government will no longer operate an amnesty program since many of the criminals reneged during the first exercise. We granted amnesty in the past and some boys went back to crime, for now, we are doing what is called, ‘Bending Over’, If they renege, the law will take its course. When the court bends you over, it will be difficult for you to renege.” he added.
Meanwhile, some former Niger Delta militants have called on the Federal Government to carry out what they called complete overhaul of the nation’s Amnesty Programme initiated by the administration of late President Umaru Yar’Adua.
The Coordinator, National Affairs of the United Ex-Freedom Fighters Forum, Mutu Dumex, made the call on behalf of his colleagues at a press conference in Abuja.
Dumex said having willingly keyed into the amnesty programme, he and his colleagues would not fold their arms and allow any individual to rubbish the government’s noble initiative.
He said it was on that basis that they decided to draw the attention of stakeholders to the alleged anomalies going on in the office so that the programme can be salvaged.
He said, “We call for a complete overhaul of the amnesty programme with a view to repositioning it to the lofty goals that it was set for it. Successive leaders of the programme have derailed from the dreams set out for the programme by the late Umaru Yar’Adua. We believe that Mr President means well for our region and should not allow an individual to derail such a good programme of the Federal Government.”
Dumex regretted that former militants were being owed their stipends despite repeated assurances that they would be paid.
He also alleged that school fees and medical bills of amnesty students in Nigeria were not being paid as of when due.
As part of the overhauling of the office, he also called on security agencies to investigate the office.
He urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and the Department of State Services to carry out a comprehensive investigation and forensic audit of the office.