Justice Isa Dashen of the Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State has expressed displeasure over alleged attempt by officials of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) led by the acting administrator, Milland Dixion Dikio (rtd) to delay the suit of non-inclusion brought against them by 19 aggrieved ex-militants from three states of the Niger Delta region.
Dashen, while hearing from Ibanga John, the counsel to the 19 aggrieved ex-militants in the suit numbered FHC/YNG/CS/102/2013, wondered why the officials of the federal government and the Presidential Amnesty Committee make skeletal appearances in court despite the sighting of one G.A. Oladimeji in court for another suit filed against the Amnesty office.
John had during the briefing of Justice Dashen on the state of the eight-year suit that had come up before series of judges since 2013 when it was filed, pointed out that though the case against the Amnesty office had been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, strikes and transfer of presiding judges, the non-appearance of counsels to the federal government and Presidential Amnesty Office is affecting the speedy hearing of the suit.
He also sought the order of the court compelling accelerated hearing of the suit. A request the presiding judge, Justice Isa Dashen promised to grant during the next adjourned sitting on December 10, 2021.
The aggrieved ex-militants, Asenekiri Oyinle, Angiama-Owei Oyindoubra, John Government, Henry Gomeromo, John Sawyer, Trydi Okpeke, Dollar Motor, Selebi Ayowei, Bobra Angese, Ekerebi Umber and others, had dragged the federal government and the amnesty office to the court over issue of non-inclusion in the amnesty programme.
According to the ex-militant leaders, in the suit numbered FHC/YNG/CS/102/2013, the amnesty committee erred by refusing to include them in the ongoing amnesty programme after series of resolutions from meetings with the past and present National Security Advisers, late General Owei Azazi (rtd) and Col. Dasuki Sambo (rtd) respectively. “Instead of respecting the resolutions and directives from the National Security Adviser, Dasuki Sambo, the Amnesty Committee turned down the call to include the ex-militants and adopted a divide and rule tactics with the inclusion of three out of the 22 persons,” they claimed.
The aggrieved ex-militants in a statement of claim against the Presidential Amnesty Implementation Committee had sought the court order compelling the Amnesty Committee to approve reasonable slots for them as agreed at one of the peace meetings on December 19, 2011.
“For the court to compel the defendants to pay due allowances of the plaintiffs and their foot soldiers from March, 2012 until the plaintiffs are fully settled under the Niger Delta Amnesty Committee. To compel the defendants to immediately send the plaintiffs and their foot soldiers for the mandatory skills acquisition training for the Niger Delta militants,” they prayed.