A socio-political movement, Ijaw National Congress (INEC) on Sunday denied media reports that jobless Ijaw/Ilaje ex-militants as well as militia men invaded Lagos State and have been responsible for the recent cases of kidnapping, armed robbery and other crimes.
The INC in a statement issued in Abuja by its Lagos State Adviser and former President, Izon Community in Lagos,
Mr. Regent Youmor, also called on the Federal Government to extend the envisaged termination period of amnesty programme beyond the next two years to enable thorough training of the over 30,000 ex militants captured for rehabilitation and empowerment.
According to him, the government came up with exit strategy, whereby 3, 232 trained ex-militants have been listed to exit this year, adding that “with monthly stipend of N65,000, government save over N2 billion”, having realised that the amnesty programme would not last forever.
He said, “Our demand from Mr. President is to extend the envisaged termination period of amnesty programme from the next two years to enable thorough training/counselling of the over 30,000 ex militants captured for rehabilitation and empowerment.
“Attributing recent upsurge of criminal activities in Lagos to ex-militants of Ijaw extraction cannot be true as President Muhammadu Buhari, on assumption of office strengthened the amnesty program. As beneficiaries of the program, our ex-militants are fully engaged in specialised skills acquisition programs along with academic studies in various institutions of higher learning both locally and abroad.
“True, the Ijaw nation feared Buhari would scrap the amnesty programme on assumption of office. Rather, he further strengthened the program with the appointment of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh (retd), in a deft move that restored peace to Niger Delta. We therefore appeal to the press to cross check their information before going public.”
The INC stated that since ex-militants under the amnesty programme were well documented and admitted into various educational institutions and vocational training centers in Nigeria and abroad, speculative reports would not be helpful.
“The relative peace being experienced in Niger Delta is a result of measures put in place by Mr. President through the amnesty office effectively headed by Brigadier – General P. T. Boroh (retd). The Ijaw people thank Mr. President for sustaining the amnesty programme and pleased with Boroh’s leadership”, Youmor stated.