By Emma Amaize
WARRIâ€”APOLOGETIC militant leader, Victor Ben, alias Boyloaf,Â has denied receiving N2 billion from the Federal Government to accept amnesty and surrender arms, saying those who went to his house in the village recently to recover the said money were sent on a wild goose chase by the leader of theÂ Movement for the Emancipation of Niger-Delta (MEND) and some politicians.
â€œLet me state clearly here that there is nothing like camp any longer in the creeks. What happened was that my personal house was burgled, they were searching for N2 billion that they said I collected from the Federal Government and did not take to the bank because of the EFCC.
â€œ You can see how shallow -minded people are. How can someone keep N2 billion in his house in the village?
â€œThe boys were deceived by a leader of MEND and his political friends who do not want the Federal Government amnesty programme to succeed; they went in there and saw nothing, at least they now saw for themselves that they were being deceived,â€ he said in an exclusive electronic mail to Vanguard.
Continuing, he said:Â â€œWhen I led 32 militant leaders to the Presidential Villa, I told the whole world that I was accepting the Federal Government amnesty and that I was going to surrender all arms and weapons in my possession.
â€œOn the 12th of August in broad day light, in the presence of federal and state government delegations and senior service chiefs in the military and police, I publicly surrendered all my arms, as I did promise the Federal Government when I accepted amnesty.
â€œ I was surprised when I saw on the pages of newspapers that my camp was raided and arms catered away. Which arms and camp are they referring to?Â Arms that I totally surrendered to the government? Or camps that I have closed dawn and turned in all arms and weapons?
â€œI have said it publicly before now that there was no monetary inducement whatsoever in our negotiations to surrender arms, what we agreed with government agency was that the militants were going to be rehabilitated and reintegrated back into the society so that they can live a decent life and go about their legitimate business, so that the Federal Government can commence development of the Niger Delta”.
â€œLet me use this medium to advice all the youths of the region that they should not allow themselves to be used b y people whose interest are just purely business, who want to keep the people of the Niger Delta perpetually poor.
â€œWe must collectively put our hands together and support the government amnesty programme and give them a chance to develop our region. Enough is enough; we can no longer allow ourselves to be used by politicians.
â€œWe will, directly by ourselves, dialogue with government, which is what we are doing now, and press for our demands legitimately, nobody, I repeat, nobody can use us anymore.â€