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WE'LL TREAT YOU AS CRIMINALS, GOV SYLVA WARNS AGITATING EX-MILITANTS

By NBF News
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Governor Timipre Sylva has warned ex-militants who have been clamouring for inclusion into the post-amnesty that his administration would tag them as criminals henceforth.

Sylva, speaking during a meeting with a delegation of the amnesty committee at the Government House, Yenagoa, commended the committee for not succumbing to the demands of the protesting youths as they failed to take advantage of the Federal Government amnesty before it closed in 2009.

According to him, reports at his disposal indicated that some people were behind the protesting youths who called themselves third phase, adding that having failed to partake in the amnesty when there was the opportunity, any protest to clamour for inclusion would be severely resisted.

Sylva explained that he was happy with the success recorded by the amnesty committee in the genuine implementation of the programme as proposed by the Bayelsa State government with its emphasis on the development of infrastructure and human empowerment.

'The programme is now being managed by those who truly understand it. We must tell these protesting youths that amnesty is a window. It opens at certain time and closes at another time. This amnesty window is closed and those protesting will need another presidential proclamation to be included in the programme.'

Kuku in his remarks commended Sylva for his initiative on the amnesty programme, noting that if the Bayelsa State government at amnesty had failed, the late President Umaru Musa Yar' Adua amnesty for Niger Delta militants would have collapsed.

While disclosing that 20,192 ex-militants that enrolled for the programme in 2009 have undergone the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) and the 6,166 persons added in 2010 and known as Second Phase would be demobilised before the end of November, he expressed concern over the merger of groups clamouring for inclusion in the amnesty programme.

'Our explanation that they cannot be included in the programme since they did not come out on or before October 4, 2009 to drop their arms and accept the offer of amnesty from the Federal Government, has not helped much. The amnesty office is persuading security agencies to treat this growing and sometimes, militant agitations for inclusion, as a security problem.'

Kuku further expressed dismay at the slow pace of the work on the East-west Road and pleaded with Sylva to prevail on the Ministry of Niger Delta to mount pressure on the contractor handling the project to speed up the work.'The condition of the East-west Road is laughable. We must ensure that it is completed. If it is not completed, it will be terrible for the people of the region,' he said.