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General News of Thursday, 18 February 2021

Source: The Nation

Ex-militants threaten resumption of hostilities

Repentant militants in Akwa Ibom State have threatened to resume hostilities over the poor funding of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) by the Federal Government.

The former agitators, under the aegis of the Akwa Ibom Ex-Militants Forum, said the Federal Government had not provided sufficient funds to the Presidential Amnesty Office to enable it carry out its functions and responsibilities.

A statement by the Chairman and Secretary of the Akwa Ibom Phase 11 Ex-Militants Forum, Comrade Imoh Okoko and Mr. Sunny Affiah indicated that the Federal Government had not paid stipends and school fees to ex-agitators at vocational training centres within and outside the country for sometime now.

They said the prevailing peace in the Niger Delta region could only be sustained by the empowerment and training of repentant militants, failing which they might return to the trenches.

The statement said: ”It is a fact that the peace enjoyed in the Niger Delta today depends on the sustenance of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

”It is on record that almost all Akwa Ibom ex-militants have not been trained in schools. They also need vocational training centres. Up till now, the office is unable to pay ex-militants and contractors allowances due to improper funding of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.”

The ex-militants hailed the Interim Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Effiong Akwa, for his efforts in sustaining peace in the region.

They noted that his efforts could be counterproductive if the PAP was not well funded to meet its obligations.

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