The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in Rivers State, has called on the National Security Adviser, Brig Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd), to intervene in the case of some repentant militant leaders who were allegedly shortchanged by the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
The ex-militant leaders had accused successive coordinators of the Presidential Amnesty Programme of shortchanging them of their slots, privileges and opportunities for their selfish interest.
Speaking with journalists in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, a MEND leader, Comrade Malvin Kofi Thompson, said they have continued to be on the losing side since the Amnesty Programme commenced.
Thompson said: “For example, in 2015 the Amnesty office under Brigadier General Paul Boroh (rtd) carried out an account verification exercise only in Rivers State. The process denied over 800 bonafide members of our camps their ₦65,000.
“The office didn’t see the need to contact the leaders for proper identification of the said boys, who were unilaterally expunged from the system. These are our authentic members that are qualified to receive the stipends.
“Our question is this; who is receiving the ₦65,000 in place of the shortchanged beneficiaries? Going forward, we are calling on the Amnesty office to pay the accrued monies with arrears to the boys since 2015. They sacrificed their families and had diverse degree of injuries and need to benefit from the programme and take care of their problems.
“In 2013, over 20 leaders and commanders from MEND were denied leadership training outside the country and subsequent empowerment. Sadly, fictitious names were used to shortchange the authentic camp leaders that were earmarked for the training. It is important that the affected leaders be contacted and processed for training because it is their right.
“Comrade Otonyemieba Kuna, aka General Obes, who initially refused to accept the Amnesty as at October 3, 2009 because of fear of insincerity on the part of government, hence stayed back in the creeks to continue the agitation. This same General Obes was later arrested on November 22, 2010.
“He was subsequently released and granted amnesty where he submitted over 482 rifles with about 4,000 boys, that padon coincided with when Phase 2 and 3 ex-militants that were granted amnesty.
“Yet General Obes and his boys where not captured in the programme in the Amnesty office. Rather, his slots were shared to leaders from other states outside of Rivers State, leaving the boys suffering and uncared for. We make bold to say that the Amnesty office is owing leaders and beneficiaries of Rivers State MEND over N5billion.
“It will interest you to know that the leaders are back and united in this cause to save our members and boys who have suffered untold hardship and neglect as a result lack of performance from the former leader who had degenerated into politics, deliberate wickedness and fraudulent activities of the officers.
“We are calling on the NSA and the Interim Administrator to investigate these complaints to ensure that justice is meted to the marginalised beneficiaries, we can’t be accusing the Federal Government of injustice while our people will divert every opportunity resulting from our collective struggle to their personal pocket.”