June 13, 2021
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Ex-militants from the coastal area of Ilaje Local Government area of Ondo State, have protested over the non-payment of their monthly allowances and threatened to drag the Presidential Committee on Amnesty Programme to court over the development.

The former militants who alleged to the Federal Government that their monthly allowances and other entitlement had not been paid for the past two years by Presidential Committee on the Amnesty Programme.

The ex-militants grievances were contained in a letter addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Ondo State government, signed by the leader of the group, Mr Deji Ehinmowo, who said the state and the federal government had abandoned them after dropping their arms.

The letter entitled, “Neglect of Demobilisation and Reintegration of Mr Deji Ehinmowo and other 204 members under the Presidential Amnesty Programme of 2017 in Ondo State and Demand of the full Payment of Monthly Benefits and Arrears of Same.”

The former militants said they would not hesitate to take legal action against the federal and state government if the Committee fail to address and attend to their needs within the next 30 days.

According to them, the Presidential Amnesty Programme invited the camp through an invitation letter, dated July 16, 2009, and dropped their arms after meeting with the Committee.

The group stated in the letter that “Building on the initial invitation to the camp by the Presidential Amnesty Programme, you will recall that the 204 persons whose name had been annexed, were under Mr Deji Ehinmowo’s wing in 2017 Presidential Amnesty Programme conducted in Ondo State by the Federal Government through the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta (The Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme).

“The exercise was jointly conducted with the Ondo State Government through the Amnesty Committee headed by the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi, in collaboration with Nigerian Navy and other security outfits in attendance.

“As you are aware, the process of the Presidential Amnesty Programme is a reflection in Nigeria of the United Nations prescribed process of the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration adopted by Nigerian Government and in use, which became necessary following the series of youth unrest and militancy in the Niger-Delta Region of Nigeria.

“However, we are saddened and disturbed by the fact that the demobilisation and reintegration phase of the programme which entails the repurchase of arms, vocational training, educational pursuits and monthly benefits for the disarmed youths have been abandoned after the disarmament for over two years when the government last engaged us,” they said.

They stated that several demands and appeals have been made by the camp but said it failed to yield the desire results.

The former militants noted that they had banked on the promises of the government and kept to all the terms of the Amnesty Initiative.

According to them, the camp has been distraught and disenchanted by the seeming failure on the part of the committee to keep to its terms of the arrangement.

“It has therefore become imperative to bring to your kind notice as parties under whose supervision the programme was conducted, that we have become aggrieved by this development and strongly demand the full payment of our monthly benefits and arrears of the same; as well as the completion of other phases of the programme.

“In view of the foregoing, except our demands are met within 30 days of the receipt of this letter, we have no option than to approach the court.

“This is for an order compelling the parties to comply with the other stages of Amnesty Programme, by payment of the monthly benefits as well as other reliefs that may be considered necessary and incidental in the prevailing circumstances,” they said.

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