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Group threatens litigation over 53 ex-militants’ detention

By George Onah
Port Harcourt—No fewer than 53 ex-militants are currently under detention in various prisons in Rivers State, despite the presidential declaration of amnesty to militants of the region, a group in the Niger Delta has alleged.

Consequently, the group, Niger Delta Non-violent Movement, has threatened litigation against the Federal Government.

“Why is it that somebody somewhere does not want these boys to be released as directed by the President? Must it require another round of fighting for that to be done? The problem with the powers that be is insensitivity and callousness,” the group said in a three-page document listing the names of those still in jail.

Leader of the movement, Mr. Onengiya Erekosima, said it was ridiculous for the government to grant amnesty to a group of people which fought against the state only for the same people to be thrown into jail without prosecution.

He stated that the continued detention of the youths was provocative, which was part of the reasons the youths resorted to armed struggle.

“Only Henry Okah and Soboma Jackree a.k.a. ‘Egberi Papa’, have been set free,” the statement said, explaining that several representations have been made to the government in respect of the detained former militants without any positive result.

“It is on this premise that we want the court to declare whether these detainees are not covered by the presidential amnesty, which said that anybody  associated with militancy would be granted amnesty.”

Specifically, the movement mentioned “Orinaemi Hart, the leader of the Bonny axis of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, MEND, as part of the over 50 under lock.

It appealed to Acting President Goodluck Jonathan  to look into the matter “with fatherly approach and order the release of the boys”.

The group also wants the presidency to “dissolve the presidential committee on amnesty and appoint men of integrity to the committee that would win the acceptance and respect of the people of the Niger Delta”.


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