By AKOMA CHINWEOKE, VIVIAN ENEBELE & ANTHONIA ONWUKA
PRESIDENT Umaru Yarâ€™Adua on Â Â Â Thursday, June 26, 2009 proclaimed the unconditional amnesty to all Niger Delta militants in the creeks and those facing prosecution in the law courts.
The militants were expected to subscribe to an oath of renunciation within 60 days. The proclamation followed the ratification of the amnestyÂ terms by the Council of State. The president explained that the amnesty would take effect upon the surrender and handing overÂ of all equipment, weapons, arms and ammunition in the possession of the militants while centres were to be established in each state of the Niger Delta for the execution of renunciation of Militancy Forms by the affected persons.
According to Yarâ€™Adua, the amnesty could only be effective if the militants were prepared to lay down their arms. He urged all militants in hiding to take advantage of the proclamation and be reintegrated into the society. â€œThe offer of amnesty is predicated on the willingness and readiness of the militants to give up all illegal arms in their possession, completely renounce militancy in all its ramifications unconditionally and depose to an undertaking to this effect,â€ the president said while outlining the terms of the amnesty.
The Abbe panel that worked out amnesty
THE details of the amnesty were worked out by the Presidential Panel on Amnesty and Disarmament of Militants in the Niger Delta headed by Major General G.O. Abbe (rtd), then minister of interior, .Members of the panel are Elder G. Orubebe, minister of state in the Ministry of the Niger Delta; Air Chief Marshal P. Dike, chief of the defence staff and Mr Mike Okiro, then inspector general of police.
The panel recommended that the presidentâ€™s proclamation should give to the militants a period not exceeding 75 days but not less than 60 days within which to renounce militancy and subscribe to the oath of renunciation. It also recommended that the renunciation and subscription to the oath should be done publicly at designated centres.
The MEND AaronÂ committee
Prof. Wole Soyinka
Admiral Mike Akhigbe (rtd)
Major General Luke Aprezi (rtd)
Dr. Sabella Abidde
Ms. Annkio Briggs
BOYLOAF TO MEND
Who is MEND? How can people who donâ€™t know how we formed the organization be saying that they are MEND. Those who formed MEND have left MEND, so there is nothing like MEND anymore. They are mere propagandists, they should disarm by surrendering their laptops and e-mail passwords because that chapter is over. The best thing is for us to accept amnesty and give the federal government the chance to develop the region because postponing the acceptance of amnesty is like postponing the development of the region.