The Federal Government has promised former Niger Delta militants regular payments of their stipends and training under its amnesty programme.The Federal Government also expressed the need by stakeholders to help in sustaining the prevailing peace in the area.
The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, Brigadier-General Paul Boroh, denied speculations that an ex-militant leader was paid a huge amount of money by one of the governorship candidates to influence the election in Bayelsa State.
Explaining that the amnesty payment to former Niger Delta agitators was made directly to beneficiaries, Boroh said the banks had stopped paying them (ex-militants) after their last attack in which the bank’s facilities were allegedly damaged by some angry ex-militants.
Boroh, who spoke during the payment of arrears to beneficiaries on Saturday in Port Harcourt, said, “I am not aware that a major ex-militant leader was paid a huge amount of money by a governorship candidate.
“What I do know is that this exercise became necessary when the banks refused to pay those captured in the amnesty programme. This exercise is just for this period, immediately after this period, the banking system will continue.
“This exercise will continue from the banks because there were some ambiguities. The bankers advised that they will not allow their premises to be used because the ex-agitators damaged their bank facilities.
“This exercise will allow for effective biometric verification and to ensure that their names tally with the biometric numbers. This is to ensure credibility and sustainability”, Boroh said.
He added that the amnesty programme had ensured peace in the region, adding that there were plans to partner with other stakeholders to keep the vision of amnesty moving.
“The amnesty programme is to sustain the peace in Niger Delta. Amnesty programme is to ensure total peace, total security, training for the ex-agitators, and empowerment for them, employment, then engagement and later reintegration to allow for development.
“I want to continue to sustain that peace in order to allow for NDDC, Niger Delta Ministry, governors in the Niger Delta region to continue their work, the Ministry of Agriculture to continue their work in boosting agric in Niger Delta,” he said.
The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Chief Anabs Sara-Igbe, noted that there had been peace in the region since the inception of the amnesty programme.
Sara-Igbe said, “We do not do bunker anymore. Bunker destroyed our ecology, our environment. We do not want oil theft or anything that will make the government very angry because we do not want government to question amnesty.”