ABUJA—EX-MILITANTS, yesterday, besieged the National Assembly demanding that the Federal Government include them in the amnesty programme or they would resume hostilities in the Niger Delta.
The ex-militants in their hundreds, had arrived the fourth entry point of NASS as early as 6.30am chanting war songs, displaying placards depicting various messages.
This action was, however, in the full glare of Police backed by men of NSCDC and plain clothed officers of Department of State Security, DSS. The aggrieved ex-militants, under the aegis of Niger Delta Freedom Fighters, also barricaded the main gate to NASS.
Apparently unaware that the Federal Lawmakers are currently on Easter recess, the placard carrying ex-militants, led by ‘General’ Para Ekiyes, threatened to return to the creeks to resume hostilities, if the Federal Government failed to accede to their demand. Ekiyes, also known as ‘General Gun Boat’, said the group wanted the Federal Government to facilitate the immediate actualization of the third phase of the amnesty programme currently on going in the Niger Delta and which also accommodated them.
Lamenting their ordeal and what he called cavalier activities of members of the Task Force since the commencement of the phased programme under the supervision of Kingsley Kuku, Ekiyes said the group disarmed in 2011, and had since been waiting to no avail.
He said: “The Task Force on third phase amnesty has commenced work in Delta State since February 3, 2013 but none of us has been invited.” The officials have refused to invite the group to participate and partake in the presidential amnesty programme. Ekiyes noted that the third phase of the programme had made provisions to accommodate only 3,642 of the about 5,600-strong ex militants belonging to the Niger Delta Freedom Fighters, yet none of them had been invited.
He said: “If the Federal Government fails to accede to our demand I and my men will go back to the creeks. The Nigerian government knows what the Niger Delta youths can do. The government knows what was happening before we disarmed, and since we disarmed they know what has been going on in the Niger Delta region.
“Even the number of crude oil per day is very stable, the menace of sea piracy has ceased and there is stability in the area. But if the government feels that we should continue, then we will go back.”
It would be recalled that the Itsekiri youths were recently included in the Amnesty Programme after Itsekiri leaders presented a very conclusive evidence that the youths surrendered their arms before the Public Petitions Committee of the House of Representatives last year.
The youths, led then by a patron of the council, Dr. Lucky Akuaruese, were armed with a copy of their earlier petition, as well as a video showing clearly the affected youths surrendering their arms which included rocket launchers, AK 47s, Sub-Machine Guns, SMGs and several other automatic weapons, to buttress their claims.