By Emma Amaize
WARRI â€” ActingÂ leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta General Boyloaf, yesterday, pleaded with the Federal Government to grant amnesty to wanted militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo for total peace to reign in the region.
Boyloaf who is hopeful that the detained Henry Okah would be included in the list of those to be granted amnesty by the Federal Government said he accepted to give peace a chance because he was given a firm assurance by some unnamed negotiators that President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua was sincere in his search for enduring peace in the region.
The MEND leader who spoke exclusively to Vanguard said, â€œThe JTF should remove Tompolo from the wanted list and also relax the siege on himâ€.
You gave an assurance that nothing will happen but MEND still struck in Delta state on Tuesday, although the JTF is saying it was a system failure in one of the platforms?
â€œActually, I called because in my interview with you, some days ago, I appealed to the Federal Government to grant amnesty to Tompolo but it was not included in your report of today (yesterday), which I have just read. That is one of the reasons I made that call, for there to be total peace, Tompolo should be granted amnesty, as long as the Federal Government says it is going to release the details, it should include himâ€, he said.
Despite your call, there was still an attackâ€¦
â€œYou know I told you that as far as I am concerned, nothing will happen in Bayelsa, where I am, Rivers, Edo and parts of Delta state. I was specific when I said parts of Delta, not Delta state or did I not say that to you?
I know the situation on ground there. However, that is why I am saying that Tompolo should be granted amnesty so that nobody will have any reason to be doing anything.
On the amnesty
â€œLet me tell you, some people will think that I am betraying the struggle, but, it is not so, I know the reason I have decided to accept amnesty.
There is no need to continue with the battle in this violent way if the government has realised that it has to develop the region and wants to grant all the people that are fighting amnesty in order to create conducive atmosphere for development.
Clearly, we all know that the government will not grant the said amnesty if the atmosphere remains rough in the region, so we have to create the right atmosphere.
â€œThose who spoke to me on the Federal Government amnesty package were specific that Henry Okah would be included in the package and challenged me to try them and see the outcome.
â€œWith such a firm assurance, I did not see any reason why I should continue fighting and not give the government the opportunity for peace, which they so much craved for. So, we are waiting for the amnesty and it should go to everybody who is fighting, you understand me.
Vietnamese spirit in Ijaw man
â€œI have said it, the way to stop the crisis is for the government to grant amnesty to everybody, the struggle did not start with President Yarâ€™Adua, it was on during the tenure of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, he found it very hot and he handed over to Yarâ€™Adua without the matter being resolved.
â€œWhat they donâ€™t know is that the Ijaw man is like that Vietnamese man, the more you kill them, the more they come out stronger for the cause they believe inâ€, he added.