By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURT â€”Â CHAIRMAN, Presidential Committee on the Implementation of Amnesty and Rehabilitation of Militants in Niger Delta, Air Vice Marshal Lucky Alariye yesterday described the ugly situation created by militancy in the Niger Delta as double jeopardy.
According to him, the effect of militancy on the region was both at the security level and the environment which he said was being severely polluted from attacks on oil facilities.
Urging militants in the region to make good use of the offer of amnesty granted them by the Federal Government, Air Vice Marshal Alariye who spoke in Port Harcourt at an interactive session between his committee and youths in the state and other stakeholders gave details of how the committee would carry out its operations.
According to him, it would be broken into three phases which he listed as collection of arms, rehabilitation of the repentant militants and retraining them.
He added that due to problem of logistics, the arms collection centres had been pruned down from fourteen to four. The four points, he said, would only be made known from August 6 when disarmament of the militants would commence.
He said seventy percent of the N50 billion earmarked for the amnesty exercise would go into reintegration of the reformed militants.
He also assured that his committee would look at some of the critical issues raised at the forum for it to work with.
Earlier, founding president of the Ijaw Youth Council, Dr Felix Tuodolor expressed dissatisfaction with the composition of the committee which he said did not have enough Niger Deltans. He also said there were fears in the region that the committee had more of security operatives.
He said youths from the region were ready to ensure the success of the amnesty but the government should come up with a confidence building process which should include the release of Henry Okah and other militants languishing in various JTF detention camps in the region.
On his part, Mr. Ledum Mitee, President, Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) urged government not to fail to address issues like challenges of underdevelopment in the region that gave rise to militancy. He added that the government should accommodate unemployed youths in its programme of rehabilitation for militants.
Mr. UcheM Onyegocha, counsel to Ateke Tom, urged the committee to prevail on the JTF to vacate the properties of his client just as he spoke of the willingness of his client to meet with the committee at a later date.
On his part, president, Association for Non-Violence and Peace Education, Mr. Frankly George suggested the fusion of non-violence education in the nationâ€™s education curricula.
According to him, there were already too many violent movements in the nationâ€™s tertiary institutions so there was need to re-orient the minds of students away from the path of violence.
He also blamed failures in the past to disarm youths in the region on the lack of provision of starter packs that should go to participants at the end of skill acquisition programmes. Doris Mac Daniels who spoke for Ijaw Mothers called on the government to reclaim more lands in Ijaw areas for their expansion.
She said at the moment, there were no lands for development in most Ijaw areas. She urged government to train youths of the area in marine-related fields adding also that critical efforts should be made to address the challenges of underdevelopment that gave rise to the conflicts in the region.
Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Tele Ikuru urged youths of the region to take advantage of the amnesty to turn a new leaf. He said his government would cooperate with the committee to ensure the success of the amnesty programme in the region.
The governor lamented the pains and troubles the problems of criminality under the guise of militancy had brought upon the region just as he noted the urgent need for attitudinal change on the part of those behind it.