About 30,000 former militants are currently enjoying the Nigerian amnesty programme
The Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs, Kingsley Kuku, has called on security agencies to arrest any militant group found surrendering arms in Niger Delta.
Mr. Kuku gave the directive on Tuesday in Abuja at a news briefing he addressed in reaction to the submission of assorted weapons by a militant group in the region.
The special adviser, who is also the Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Office (PAO), said the arrest and prosecution of the militants had become imperative since the period slated for disarmament was over.
An armed group based in Bayelsa, last week submitted assorted weapons to the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Yenagoa.
The group, led by its `commander’, Inaemi David, 31, was reputed to have carried out numerous attacks on oil pipelines in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
Mr. David led members of his group to the JTF Headquarters in Yenagoa, on February 1 to surrender some weapons.
“Our resolve to embrace peace and the Federal Government’s amnesty programme informed our action,” he said.
Mr. Kuku, however, told newsmen that at the moment, “there is no disarmament exercise in Niger Delta’’.
“What happened in Yenagoa was the verification of arms by AVM James Gbum-led Inter Agency Task Force on Disarmament for the Third Phase of the Amnesty Programme,” he said.
The presidential aide recalled that when the FG proclaimed unconditional amnesty for the militants on June 25, 2009, a total of 20,192 former agitators gave up their arms and ammunitions.
Mr. Kuku said the ex-militants were then enrolled in the first phase of the amnesty programme.
He said the terms of the amnesty included the willingness and readiness of the agitators to surrender their arms on or before October 4, 2009; unconditionally renouncing militancy and signing of an undertaking to that effect.
“In return, the government pledged its commitment to institute programmes to assist the disarmament, demobilisation, rehabilitation and reintegration of the former agitators,” he said. “At the expiration of the 60-day grace period on October 4, 2009, a total of 20,192 Niger Delta ex-agitators had surrendered large number of arms and ammunition to the Federal Government and accepted the offer of amnesty.”
He said “pursuant to the letter and spirit of the Amnesty Proclamation, the Federal Government instituted a Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) package for those who accepted the offer of amnesty on or before the expiration date.
“Another 6,166 were added in November 2010 to constitute a second phase of the programme, bringing the number of persons enlisted in the Presidential Amnesty Programme to 26,358,’’ Mr. Kuku said.
He said the Federal Government also approved the inclusion of another 3,642 former militants, bringing the total to 30,000 in October, 2012.
Kuku said the PAO was committed to funding the disarmament process of 3,642 former militants newly enrolled for the third phase of the amnesty programme.
He said this was aimed at reconciling the disarmament records of the former agitators, who have surrendered their arms to military formations and security agencies, in the third phase of the amnesty programme
The Inaemi David group on February 1 submitted six wraps of dynamite and one AK 47 assault rifle, three locally-made pistols, one automatic revolver and 12 locally-made single barrel rifles.
Others are two fully-loaded magazines, dozens of 7.62 mm ammunitions and three improvised rocket launchers, six wraps of gun powder, 25 live cartridges, a pot of fetish concoction and a live tortoise.