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Rights Group Frowns At Amnesty For Militants

By Kehinde Adewole
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A human rights advocacy group, the Advocates of Social Justice for All {ASJA) has said those engaged in destruction of oil and gas infrastructures under the guise of agitation should be treated as terrorists

The group urged the federal government to reject calls in some quarters that amnesty be granted to the militants. It said the amnesty is very expensive to maintain and also encourages criminality.

Addressing journalists on Sunday in Abuja, ASJA national president, Torkuma Venatius said granting amnesty to militants who have engaged in destruction of national assets is like rewarding criminality and is capable of eroding patriotism.

He said, "First we want to note that such calls for negotiation are a disservice to the decent and well meaning people of the Niger Delta. Those engaged in destruction of oil and gas infrastructures represent an infinitesimal fraction of the entire population yet their action is being used to label an entire region.

"Whatever the outcome of their negotiations are will not positively impact the larger population of the area since this so called militants are only interested in lining their own pockets while fulfilling the wishes of the political class they answer to.

"We must also ask what has happened to the previous amnesty granted to these same set of people under the administration of late President Umaru Yar’Adua, which was later continued as an elaborate scam under the succeeding administration."

According to him, some individuals have reneged on the amnesty deal and have again began attacking the state while their sponsors rushed to saturate the media with calls for negotiations so that they can put the country through another cycle of extortion.

He said, "it is on this note that we demand that the Federal Government immediately publish the terms of the amnesty agreement earlier entered to with militants.

"The government must then act on the terms of this agreement especially the aspect that forbade a return to criminality as this alone is a basis for putting those that are committing present destruction on trial."

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