By George Onah
Port Harcourtâ€”The Rivers State Government House Coordinator, Bishop Friday Nwator, has appealed to the Federal Government and states of the Niger Delta to act urgently to halt the gradual return of ex-militants to the creeks.
Nwator, who is a U. N. Ambassador for Peace, in an exclusive interview with Vanguard, yesterday, said the alarm had become necessary in view of the seeming neglect and poor handling of the amnesty programme of government.
He said it was regrettable that in view of the improper engagement of the ex-fighters, they had been exposed to all manner of temptations and had become vulnerable to some wealthy politicians in the region who have lured them to do their nefarious bidding.
â€œA large number of these ex-militants have gone back to the creeks and many of them are slipping back to the bush to bear arms again.
â€œSome of the ex-militants have told me point blank that they will have to return to the creeks because they have been tricked by the government to drop their arms.â€ Bishop Nwator said.
The clergyman, who is also a retired medical doctor, said he often used his monthly pension stipend and allowance sent from his children and donation from a few individuals to feed the former fighters in his centre, adding that even food was a problem at the centre.
Nwator said there were two distinct groups of ex-fighters, namely, ex-militants and repentant militants, to the effect that some have only dropped their guns but were still willing to return to the creeks, while the repentant ones were those who now have the fear of God but are still vulnerable in the face of temptation.
For the way forward, Bishop Nwator said there was the urgent need for the government to look into the various camps and centres where the ex-militants were kept and introduce measures that would halt the frustration that had crept into the various camps.
He appealed to the government to include clergymen in the handling of the ex-fighters so that there would be deliverance for them.
Nwator also said government should not pay the clergymen but feed them while working out a clear programme of training in various skills for the ex-militants.