FG to Drop Ex-militants Involved In Rivers Violence From Amnesty Programme
The Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (rtd), said any ex-militant involved in political violence in Rivers State would be dropped from the amnesty package.
Boroh, who is also the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, gave the warning when he spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Friday.
NAN reports that there had been a resurgence of violence and killings in Rivers State ahead of parliamentary rerun elections on Saturday.
The elections, which involve three Senatorial seats, 12 House of Representatives slots and 22 House of Assembly seats in the state, were ordered by a Court of Appeal.
The March 28, 2015 and April 11, 2015 polls concerning the seats, respectively, which were won mainly by candidates of Peoples Democratic Party, were nullified by the court following petitions to elections tribunals challenging the results.
According to Boroh, the Amnesty Office will exit any beneficiary involved in electoral violence in Rivers State.
He said: “I am saddened by the circle of violence cracking up Rivers State.
“This has become more pronounced as the rerun elections in the state take place.
“Such violence portends danger to the electoral and governance system in the country.
“Any beneficiary of the programme that takes part in any violent action should know that he would be violating the oath he/she took to end violence which earned him/her the presidential amnesty.
“Any beneficiary involved in violence will be exited from the programme, his/her monthly stipend stopped and will also be brought to book.”
Boroh said the ex-militants should be at the vanguard of sustainable peace in the elections, adding that it was no longer fashionable for youths to portray themselves as agents of political violence.
He said any politician who tried to engage youths in violent act during the elections would not succeed as the youths had become aware of the dangers involved in such acts.
He said: “It is only by sustaining the past leaders’ initiatives on the need for unity of a state that it will get the desired development.
“Our past leaders and fore-fathers initiatives hinged on living in peace and harmony irrespective of our political and ethnic differences.”
Boroh called on youths to always engage in developmental activities that would take the state and the region to greater heights, and appealed to Niger Deltans to the leaders and for peace.
“We will be able to get a better society and a better leadership in peace,” he said.
The coordinator said the programme had achieved its mandate of stabilising a relatively volatile Niger Delta through its various interventions.
According to Boroh, the amnesty office has made progress in the ongoing re-integration phase of the amnesty programme, which includes the empowerment of 2,500 delegates (ex-agitators) and the full employment of 400 others.
He recalled that the office had on December 4, 2015 engaged 78 vendors to empower additional 1,225 amnesty beneficiaries.
Boroh said the empowerment would lead to the exit of the beneficiaries from the programme and would save N955.5 million in stipend payments annually for the Federal Government.
He said those so trained and empowered would create further employment opportunities in the region.