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END OF MILITANCY SHOULD HERALDS A NEW DAWN FOR DEVELOPMENT IN THE NIGER DELTA REGION – RIVERS STATE AC

By Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze

Following the FG's announcement of blanket amnesty for all militants operating in the Niger Delta region earlier this year as a panacea in its commitment to restore peace in the region, many were the voices of skepticism, who felt that the move will pose a threat to the peace process.

With the non extension of the October 4th deadline of the amnesty yesterday and going by documented evidence of the large number of ammunition so far retrieved in the course of the disarmament process, we suffice to say that the exercise as one of the strategies to return peace to the region is in our opinion was successful.

We use this opportunity to commend President Alhaji Umoru Yar'Adua, Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Timi Alaibe, Minister of the Niger Delta, the Governors and stakeholders in the region for their indefatigable efforts to ensure the success of the implementation of the disarmament process and the ongoing rehabilitation and reintegration of the ex-militants into the mainstream of society.

We also acknowledge the likes of Tom Ateke, Tompolo, Farah Dagogo General Marco Martins Meboye and other militant chieftains who in difference to calls from many Niger Delta Leaders including Prince Tonye Princewill, accepted the offer of amnesty in other to avoid FG repraisals against their host communities thereby plunging the region into a war zone.

As a follow up to all the aforementioned, we call on the Federal Government to mobilize resources and necessary aid to the Niger Delta region and ensure that the lack of development that gave rise to militancy movement are effectively addressed. In this vein, we expect the immediate release of white paper on the Niger Delta Technical Committee Report and its implementation as a show of sincerity on the part of the FG to address the injustice and imbalance in development of the region.

Having acknowledged the role various administrations have played in the gradual plunder of the region, we would like to state equivocally, that we believe that the fortunes of the region lays largely in the hands of Niger Deltans. In this regard, we implore governors in the region to emulate the strides of the Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi whose zeal and uncommon commitment to the state and its people is reflected in the rapid infrastructural development and people friendly projects in the state.

In ensuring a total reintegration of all truly repentant militants, we call on the FG to emulate and implement the recommendations and pilot project of the Rivers State Government (Chief Horsfall Rehabilitation Committee) with the hope of turning the militants into better citizens and avoiding any situation capable of truncating the peace of the region. We will like to plead with the remnants of militants yet to embrace the amnesty to do that as it will be foolhardy to drag this region into any unpleasant insecurity condition any more to deter development to the region by any group in the name of militancy or anything near to that.

Finally, we must state that we are shocked at the state of the art ammunition that was retrieved during the disarmament process. We believe it would be expedient for our security agencies to embark on an investigation as to the sources of the arms in question. This would in a long way serve the purpose of deterring any future reoccurrence. The National Assembly should also enact a law with stiff penalties that will prohibit politicians from turning our youths into armed militia.

Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,
Publicity Secretary, Rivers State AC.