Militant Leader Offers To Surrender Arms


A major militant's leader in Nigeria's oil rich Niger Delta Ateke Tom has asked President Umaru Musa Yar' Adua to define the terms of the amnesty he is offering rebel groups in the region, following which he will be prepared to immediately surrender all the arms in his possession to benefit from the government's olive branch.

Speaking through his lawyer, Ikenna Enekweizu, said on Monday in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State that he is now ready to lay down his arms.

Ateke Tom has waged relentless battles with the Joint Task Force (JTF)

The lawyer said his client is ready to return to Okirika and be part of the development going on there, adding that it is necessary to spell out the terms of the amnesty so that he would know how to rehabilitate and reintegrate his boys into normal society.

In an apparent sign of good will, he also sent a message to other militant groups in the region to drop their arms and work with the Nigerian federal government for the much needed development of the region since they have successfully drawn global attention to their plight.

"Ateke Tom hereby declares on behalf of himself and all members of the Niger Delta Vigilante, the Niger Delta Patriotic Forces, that he is prepared to hand over all arms and ammunition in his possession and that of his boys, preparatory to hand them over to the Nigerian federal government," the Lagos based This Day newspaper quoted the lawyer as saying on Tuesday.

"The moment the modalities for the grant of the amnesty are completed and announced by the government," he said.

The lawyer said there is considerable apprehension among the boys on what would be their lot especially as there is no spelt out document, which if not produced, might lead to their being used upon surrendering as moving targets.

As a gesture of appreciation for their acceptance of the offer of amnesty for peace in the region, Ateke appealed to the president to order cessation of hostilities especially at Gbaramatu Kingdom where wanted militants leader Tompolo held sway till he was sacked by the JTF about a month ago.

He added that the withdrawal of troops and ordering them to stop action would also assure the people that there is no program to exterminate them especially as they have seen the need for peace.

| Article source