Ex-militants in Akwa Ibom state have threatened to resume hostilities over the poor funding of the Presidential Amnesty Programme by the federal government.
The former agitators under the aegis of the Akwa Ibom Ex-Militants Forum said in a statement signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the Akwa Ibom Phase 11 Ex-Militants Forum, Comrade Imoh Okoko and Mr. Sunny Affiah respectively that the federal government has not provided sufficient funds to Presidential Amnesty Office to enable it carry out its functions and responsibilities.
They lamented that the federal government has not paid stipends and school fees to ex-agitators in vocational training centres within and outside the country for sometime now.
The militants noted that the prevailing peace in the Niger Delta region could only be sustained by the empowerment and training of repentant militants failing which they might return to the trenches.
The statement reads in part, ”It is a well known fact that the peace enjoyed in the Niger Delta today depends on the sustenance of the Presidential Amnesty programme.
”It is on record that almost all Akwa Ibom ex-Militants have not been trained both in schools, vocational training centres and even till now the office is unable to pay ex-militants allowances and contractors due to improper funding of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.”
The ex-miltants commended the Interim Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC), Mr. Effiong Akwa for his efforts in sustaining the peace in the region but noted that his efforts could be counter productive if the PAP is not well funded to meet its obligations.
”But he may not be able to perform creditably due to the inadequate funding of the amnesty office. And this may adversely affect his lofty programmes and could lead to incessant protests, harassment of the leadership of the Presidential Amnesty Office and possible loss of confidence in the amnesty deal and subsequent return of the ex-agitators to the creeks.
”The Forum therefore unanimously call on the President and other relevant authorities not to play politics with the Amnesty programme but to adequately fund it to enable its leadership implement the rehabilitation, reintegration and existing phases of the programme successfully as well as pay contractors handling various projects in the region in order to sustain the fragile peace in the Niger Delta today,” the ex-militants said.