- Seek presidential intervention on ex-militants’ plight
Ex-militant leaders from the Niger Delta region, yesterday, described President Muhammadu Buhari as a relentless warrior following his victory over the Boko Haram insurgents.
Leaders of Second Phase Presidential Amnesty Programme in a joint statement issued in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, commended Buhari for effectively taking over the notorious Sambisa Forest and ending terror regime of Boko Haram in the country.
The National Chairman of the Second Phase, Mr Sylvester Tambo and the leaders of the group in Bayelsa, Mr Salvation Rufus and Delta State, Mr Muturu Kingsley, insisted that the President’s relentless efforts and consistent approach brought the unholy activities of the terrorist group in the North East to an end.
But the ex-warlords appealed to Buhari to quickly resolve issues affecting the Niger Delta ex-militants including their arrears of unpaid stipends.
They, however, blamed the travails of the ex-militants on the alleged refusal of the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, to release N30bn earmarked for the payment.
They urged the minister to play a leadership role and encourage the youths from the region by quickly releasing the money for their stipends to complement the peace efforts of the President.
The ex-militant leaders said: “We are commending President Muhammadu Buhari for his relentless approach in bringing the unholy activities of the Boko Haram to an end in the North East.
“But we are appealing to the President to prevail on the Minister of Finance to release the N30bn earmarked for the payment of stipends to beneficiaries of the amnesty programme.
“The inability to release funds to the Amnesty Office by the Finance Minister has greatly hampered effective payment of their salaries by the programme Coordinator, Brigadier Paul Boroh (retd).
“We are also appealing to the Minister of Finance to play a leadership role and encourage the youths as President Buhari is doing. She should stop discouraging the youths from the Niger Delta region”.
They noted that the ex-militants needed all their money to enable their children and wards return to school following the resumption of schools across the country.
“We urge the minister of finance to do the needful by settling all outstanding debts to enable Paul Boroh function properly”, they said.
The leaders also hinted that a crucial general meeting 125 ex-militant leader representing 6,600 ex-militants captured in the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) would hold at Bomadi, Delta State, on Saturday next week.
The meeting would discuss knotty issues affecting the Niger Delta region especially the future of the amnesty programme and the region’s search for permanent peace.
They urged all the leaders to attend the meeting en masse adding that important decisions would be taken at the gathering.