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Amnesty: Participants ask militants not to surrender arms

By Emma Amaize

Warri – Participants at a workshop organized by the Human Rights Defenders Organization of Nigeria (HURDON) in Warri, Delta State on the amnesty granted militants by the Federal Government have urged freedom fighters in the Niger-Delta region not to surrender their arms, as the Federal Government has no post-amnesty plan for revolutionists.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the workshop, signed by HURDON chairman, Mr. Casely Omon-Irabor, the participants said it was wrong for President Umaru Yar’Adua to refer to the freedom fighters as militants, as they are revolutionists and rights activists.

They also queried Mr. President’s right to grant amnesty to freedom fighters, saying, “Amnesty is not outright provision in the Nigeria Constitution, rather we have prerogative of mercy and state pardon (section 175 and 212 of 1999 Constitution), which are granted to convicted criminals”

According to the communiqué, “That the freedom fighters have not been convicted by any court of law, so they do not deserve amnesty or state pardon or prerogative of mercy”.

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They commended the six Niger Delta Governors for threatening to back out of the amnesty deal but urged them to translate their efforts to better utilization of available resources to develop the Niger Delta region.

“All money accruing to NDDC should be paid to fast track development to the Niger Delta;  the 50 billion allocated to the Amnesty committee should be allocated to the development of educational sectors within the region; the  Nigerian Defence Academy, Nigeria School of Aviation should be relocated to the Niger Delta Region; political office holders in the Niger Delta should be more selfless by using all available resources to redevelop the area that have been destroyed by the Federal invaders”, they stated.

“If the Federal Government refuses to revert to the status-quo ante-Bellum, we shall ask all Niger Delta’s holding any political position in the Federal Government to resign and come home for the actualization of self determination and the declaration of the Republic of Niger Delta”, they added.


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