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Pay our stipends or return our weapons, ex-militants tell Nigerian govt

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Ex-agitators under the Phase III of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) in Delta State have asked the Federal Government to return their guns and other weapons, which they surrendered in 2011.

The demand came after the alleged failure of the Federal Government to fulfil its part of the bargain to pay a monthly N65,000 stipend to each member of the group.

The Coordinator of the Phase III ex-Agitators in the state, Marshal Atake, alleged that the Amnesty Office was excluding them, continuously, from the monthly stipends.

Atake noted that if the government could not fulfil its obligation, their guns should be released to them.

He lamented that since the 2011 documentation of Phase III at JTF Headquarters Sector 1, Effurun barracks, Warri, the Amnesty Office has allegedly refused to implement the payment of the N65,000 monthly stipend, adding that their colleagues in other states were being paid.

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According to him, the documentation exercise started during Kingsley Kuku’s administration, but flimsy excuses arose that their machines developed a fault and promised to complete the documentation and implementation exercise to the final point of payment. However, he said nothing had been done about it since then.

“We wrote severally to the Amnesty Office when Kingsley Kuku was there and had also written under Col. Milland Dixon Dikio, as the administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, but no success.

“We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to give Dikio a marching order to include the Phase III ex-agitators in the monthly payment and all the programmes that other members are benefitting from,” he said.

Other ex-agitators including Daniel Egole and Williams Emoghene in their separate statements, insisted on being paid their monthly stipends.

They maintained that they were disarmed 11 years ago, and have not been paid a dime, asking why the discrimination when it was the same gun others dropped that they also dropped, urging the amnesty boss to pay them their stipends.

It would be recalled that the Nigerian government under the administration of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, granted unconditional amnesty to militants in the Niger-Delta region to drop their arms.

Youths in the region had resorted to unlawful means of agitation for the development of the region including militancy, thereby, threatening the peace, security, order and good governance in the region and jeopardising the economy of the nation.

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Source: NEWS

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