By SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN — FORMER President of Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Dr. Chris Ekiyor, has said that any plan by the Federal Government to grant amnesty to members of Boko Haram sect will be a fraud, warning that the people of the Niger Delta will resist any attempt to use resources from the region to finance such amnesty programme.
Ekiyor said it will be a misplaced argument to compare the activities of the sect members with that of the Niger Delta militants, noting that the focus of the Niger Delta militants was to attract government’s attention to the degradation of their region due to oil exploration and poverty of the people, whereas Boko Haram had embarked on mass killing of Nigerians and had remained faceless.
He said: “Beyond talking about amnesty for a group of people, who are murderers, I think that government has misplaced its priority in terms of what it is saying. Dialogue with the people, yes. Amnesty, no.
“Amnesty is not an exit window for criminals. These are people who have murdered over 5,000 people in cold blood. When people are in the churches, they bomb the church, killing people who are equally victims of bad governance like you and I.
“Again, 80 percent of these people are not Nigerians. So if you are granting them amnesty, from where will you take the resources to reintegrate them?”
Is it the Niger Delta resources, our oil money to integrate criminals and murderers in the North?”
“That money should be put into infrastructures across the country if the money is too much in the government coffers. They should develop Nigeria. But I have issue in taking Niger Delta people’s money to rehabilitate a bunch of elements, who are extremists in their activities.”
… as Okoko advocates due process
By JIMITOTA ONOYUME
PORT HARCOURT— FORMER President, Ijaw National Congress, INC, Professor Kimse Okoko, has said that the proposed amnesty by the Federal Government for members of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, should follow due process.
Speaking in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, he also appealed to Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, MEND, not to resume hostilities in the Niger Delta region.
He said: “Due process should be followed by Federal Government before granting Boko Haram amnesty. The sect should agree to stop violent activities.
“I don’t think it is proper to grant amnesty before following due process, otherwise victims of Boko Haram’s attacks would suffer so much pain.”
He told Vanguard, that there was no need for former militants to go back to the creeks, as such will not be in the interest of the region and the nation in general.
Okoko also lamented the killing, weekend, of 12 policemen at Azuzuama community, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.