By George Onah
Port Harcourtâ€”Rivers State government has warned against the activities of some reactionary elements circulating lies to the effect that the state government was not disposed to the Federal Governmentâ€™s amnesty for repentant militants.
But the government said such insinuations were ridiculous because it blazed the trail amongst Niger Delta states and the central government in the assemblage and rehabilitation of militants and cultists who decided to turn in their guns.
â€œGovernmentâ€™s peace plans were initiated many months ago with the establishment of a fully-funded Rivers State Social Rehabilitation Centre located at Okehi in Etche local government area of the state for the training and rehabilitation of genuinely repentant militants.
â€œIt is the first of its type,by any state in the entire Niger Delta and it commenced before the formal proclamation of amnesty by Mr President.Â The Social Rehabilitation Centre is headed by an ex-national security boss in the county, Chief A. K. Horsfallâ€
According to a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Blessing Wikina,Â â€œto date over 300 ex-cultists have been trained, rehabilitated and empowered to further their new life within the communities.
â€œFor the avoidance of doubt, Governor Chibuike Amaechi has stressed it severally at public fora, that he was not against the federal governmentâ€™s amnesty and would do his best to make it succeed.
â€œIndeed, it is heart warming, however, that the reports did identify those behind the series of disturbances, be they militancy or cult related, in Rivers State.â€
It is the belief of the state government that those who found joy in heating up the system by making unfounded allegations were only demonstrating how frustration and inordinate ambition could drive their excesses.
â€œThe Rivers State government is definitely grateful to President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua and the Federal Government for their commitment towards the resolution of the Niger Delta crises.
â€œWhile the state government wishes to reinstate its position to further assist all processes that will lead to the peaceful co-existence of the people of Niger Delta, it calls on Rivers people to remain focused and supportive of government, as it is determined to develop the stateâ€™s human capital and infrastructure, irrespective of pressures from detractorsâ€, it said.