FG DENIES N'DELTA EX-MILITANTS FORUM
The Federal Government yesterday stated that the Niger Delta Ex-Militant Forum is unknown to it and that it never promised to pay any ex-militant, who accepted its amnesty programme in 2009 housing allowance. The government equally alleged that those parading themselves as members of the forum swere being sponsored by crisis profiteers who did not mean well for either the programme or the nation.
In a statement in Abuja on Wednesday, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, kingsley Kuku, said 'government is not owing Niger Delta ex-combatants.' According to the statement: 'The attention of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Hon. Kingsley Kuku has been drawn to the activities of certain persons who parade themselves as members of a nebulous group, Transformed Niger Delta Ex-Militant Forum.'
'It has been confirmed that these persons are operating without the mandate, support and backing of known leaders of the Niger Delta ex-combatants or even the teeming populace of the transformed ex-combatants.
'The Federal Government is not owing any of the 26, 358 Niger Delta ex-combatants enrolled in the amnesty programme. The legitimately documented ex-combatants have since been paid their January stipends while the voucher for February payments have been signed by Hon. Kingsley Kuku. 'If the so-called members of the Transformed Niger Delta Forum were genuine ex-militants, they would have known that the Federal Government posts ex-combatants who have passed through non-violence transformational training in Obubra to skill acquisition centres in batches, given that they also go to Obubra in batches,' the statement signed by Henry Ugbolue noted.
It added that pursuant to 'the amnesty Programme's core objectives of demobilising and reintegrating the former combatants into civil society, 13,917 of the total enrolled number of 20,192 in the first phase of the programme have undertaken non-violence transformational training at the amnesty demobilisation Camp, located in Obubra, Cross River State,' explaining that the demobilisation of the remaining 6,275 would commence on Saturday, February 26 with the admission of the ex-combatants to the Obubra camp in batches of 1,200 each.
'For the demobilisation exercise in the camp, the Federal Government engaged experts from Nigeria, South Africa and the United States of America. The transformational/reorientation activities in the camp are tailored to extinguish the belief of the ex-militants in violence and provide them with a more powerful alternative, snonviolence,' the statement concludesd.