N65,000 each monthly • FG declares war on unrepentant members
With a monthly allowance of N65,000 for each of the envisaged 10,000 militants that would embrace the Federal Government’s amnesty offer, over N27.3 billion may be spent on stipends alone over the 42-month period during which they would be trained and rehabilitated in several camps. The amount could be higher if the estimate of 15,000 militants is achieved. This is nearly three times the N10.14 billion earmarked for the exercise as amnesty programme moves to the phase of reintegrating repentant Niger Delta militants into the society.
But for militants that failed to embrace the amnesty offer, the Federal Government will order a military attack on their strongholds to flush them out, just as investigations will be launched into the sources and sponsors of militancy in the Niger Delta region. Over 8,299 militants have been logged as having signed up to the peace deal ahead of the October 4 deadline for which N10.14 billion was earmarked for the payment of their allowances for the duration of the amnesty and rehabilitation programme. Each of them will receive N65,000 monthly while undergoing training in preparation for reintegration into the society.
Lucky Ararile, coordinator of the Federal Government Inter Agency Coordinating Committee on Amnesty, said in a press briefing yesterday in
Giving details of the arms recovered so far, Ararile said that items surrendered included 287,445 different types of ammunition, 2,760 assorted arms, 18 gunboats, 763 dynamites, 1,090 dynamite caps and 3,155 magazines. However, the figures on surrendered arms and the militants that dropped their weapons are provisional as inventory is still being taken. He said that other accessories given up included a bullet proof jacket, RPG chargers, walkie talkies, dynamite cables, knives, cartridges and AK 47 bayonets.
“The security agencies will be interested to know the sources of these arms so as to counter it and prevent future occurrence,” said of the large cache of arms, adding that any military personnel fingered in supplying arms to the militants would be dealt with accordingly. “The issue of identifying the sponsors of militancy activities in the Niger Delta is beyond my committee. This will be handled by government and other security agencies that have the responsibility to do so. Our mandate is not to go after the godfathers, it is the job of other security agencies and I know they will do it.”
The coordinator noted that relevant security agencies have been fully mobilized to curtail militant activities and pipeline explosion across the country.
Ararile explained that the committee is expecting to have about 15,000 ex-militants from the over 60 militancy groups operating within the region. He disclosed that each of the ex-militants would be paid the sum of N65,000 monthly throughout the 42-month period of disarmament, demobilisation and re-integration throughout.
According to him, from the N10.14 billion approved by the National Assembly for amnesty, only N958.61 million has so far been released by Federal Government. He added that an additional sum of N1.273 billion has been approved but yet to be credited into the committee’s account.
“The amount is the sum that has been approved but not yet credited into our account. The amount is strictly allowances and when it enters the account, we will use it to off set both outstanding allowances and the future allowances for the ex-militants. From the original budget of N10 billion, ex-militant receive N65,000 for 10,000 people.
While responding to question on the Niger Development Master Plan, he noted that the development of the Niger Delta region on provision of infrastructure would be done by all tiers of government and international agencies. Also speaking, Timiebi Koripamo-Agary, media coordinator of the amnesty committee described the exercise as successful. She said the number of militants that accepted the amnesty offer were so many that the committee’s capacity was pushed to the limits. “Happily, with the cooperation of all, including the military, security agencies, the militants, media, the commitment of amnesty officials and Nigerians, the country was able to successfully implement the programme.”
“The huge quantity, quality and sophistication of the arms recovered under the amnesty programme shows that the Niger Delta and
Culled from Businessday