and Akpokona Omafuaire
Sweetcrude, WARRI – EX-MILITANTS, under the aegis of Transformed Niger-Delta Ex-Militants , weekend, vowed to shut down Abuja over alleged failure of the Amnesty Office, Abuja, to pay their allowances since the completion of their training.
Leader of the group, Prince Meshach Bebenimibo, told newsmen in Warri that about 5,000 ex-militants who duly registered and undergone training at the Obubra camp in Cross River state have not been paid their entitlements since they completed their training in 2009.
He also demanded that the ex-militants should also be posted for training having completed their demobilization phase, adding, “We will invade Abuja again with genuine and peaceful protest to register our grievances.”
But, the Head, Media and Communication of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Mr. Henry Ugbolue said: “The Amnesty Office is not owing any ex-agitator monthly stipend. Anyone claiming he is being owed is an impostor. All ex-agitators enrolled in the amnesty programme are well aware that the Amnesty office never ever owe them. Usually, we pay on or before 28th of every month”.
His words, “Yes, a number of ex-agitators who had passed through the demobilization phase in Obubra are awaiting placements in training or skill acquisition centres, they will be placed, the processing is a tortuous process”.
Bebenimibo disagreed that they have been paid their allowances, saying, they were given assurance when they took their protest to Abuja, last year, that the entitlements would be paid, but up till now, nothing has been done.
According to him, “We also want immediate payment of our housing allowances and maintenance and care for the children and wives of our members who lost their lives in the struggle.”
“Finally, we demand the rapid development of the oil producing communities in the Niger Delta”, the group added.