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Militants task Jonathan as he begins 3-day visit to Rivers Thursday

By Jimitota Onoyume
President Goodluck Jonathan is now to visit Rivers State from Thursday to Saturday. It would be recalled that the President’s scheduled three-day visit to the state last week was aborted because of President Umar Yar’Adua death.

The rescheduled visit was made known to newsmen, weekend, in Port Harcourt by the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Chief Nyesom Wike.

Also, the 26th convocation of the University of Port Harcourt has been rescheduled for Saturday. President Jonathan, an alumnus of the institution is expected at the ceremony.

Meanwhile, militants in the state have expressed the hope that President Jonathan would use the visit to make a very strong policy statement on the post-amnesty programme which they said was too slow at the moment.

Some of them who spoke to Vanguard said nothing was happening at their Aluu Rehabilitation Camp in Choba. The ex-militants linked some of the pockets of abductions and related crimes that have been witnessed in the state and beyond on what they termed the seeming failure of the post-amnesty programme.

Also, students of the University of Port Harcourt said they expected the President would use his visit to relocate the ex-militants from their Aluu camp in Choba.

It would be recalled that in the early this year, the ex-militants went on the rampage over alleged unpaid allowances and in the process destroyed valuables belonging to staff and students of the school that ran into several thousands of naira.

It would be recalled that in Rivers State, the Chairman of Oyigbo Local Government, Chief Precious Oforji, was taken hostage recently and later released after some days in the custody of his kidnappers. The state Police command, also recently engaged some fleeing kidnappers in a gun duel, a situation that caused one of their patrol vehicles to go up in flames. And one of the police men, Inspector Williams Ezeogu reportedly sustained severe gunshot wound in the process.

Noting that some of these ugly developments were signs that the post amnesty programme was heading for the rocks the ex militants said they hoped the   President would make a strong statement in Port Harcourt that would rekindle hope in the post amnesty programme.

Also, students of the University of Port Harcourt said they expected the President would use his visit to relocate the ex-militants from their Aluu camp in Choba.

It would be recalled that in the early this year, the ex-militants went on the rampage over alleged unpaid allowances and in the process destroyed valuables belonging to staff and students of the school that ran into several thousands of naira.

“The reason for inviting you for this chat is to formally inform you that His Excellency, the President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, is visiting Rivers state from the 13th to 15th of May, 2010 and that visit is official.”

“Official in the sense that he will inspect some projects that ought to be federal in nature, but being taken on by the state government, like the Port Harcourt-Owerri Road, which is federal but is being embarked upon by the state government and thereafter he will inspect some state projects that are being done by the state government and also commission projects that have been completed by the state government.”

“You are aware that on the 6th of May, when he was still acting president, the state expected him to come to inspect and commission some projects, but unfortunately the demise of President Umaru Musa-Yar’adua led to the postponement of that visit and so it behoves on us to now tell you that because of the special relationship the state enjoys with His Excellency, the president, we are going to be the first state that he will officially visit since he assumed office as the President and Commander In Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”


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