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Amnesty programme: Ondo ex-agitators seek Tinubu’s intervention for inclusion

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Some ex-agitators in Ondo State on Monday appealed to President Bola Tinubu to prevail on the Presidential Amnesty Programme to integrate them into the programme.

They claimed that no fewer than 1,000 documented ex-militants were marginalised by the Presidential Amnesty Programme seven years after submitting their arms and ammunition.

The leader of ex-militants, General Deji Ehinmowo, made the plea at a news conference in Igbokoda, Ilaje Local Government area of the state.

The ex-agitators were members of the United Sea-wolf Avengers, Awaja camp, Black Bush camp, Polugbene camp, Sehinde camp, Eti eremi-ofara camp, Kofawe camp, Nigboroko camp, Mafia camp, Beware of Trouble camp and Mafia Lotto camp.

The former agitators who lamented that they were yet to be integrated into the programme, begged President Tinubu to “graciously approve” their inclusion into the Amnesty programme.

They explained that their camps were invited to the Presidential Amnesty Programme conducted in the state through a letter dated July 16, 2009.

“Based on the invitation by the Presidential Amnesty Programme, no fewer than 1,000 persons, from the aforementioned camps participated in the 2017 Presidential Programme conducted in Ondo State by the Federal Government.

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

“The process of the Presidential Amnesty is a reflection in Nigeria of the United Nation’s prescribed process of the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration adopted by the Federal Government.

“We are 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 not been fulfilled since 2017 when government engaged us.

“We strongly demand for the full payment of our monthly benefits and arrears of same as well as the completion of other phases of the Programme,” the ex-agitators said.

According to them, they have been grievously affected by many years of neglect since they embrace the Amnesty programme.

The former militants said they had relied on the promise of the government and kept to all the terms of the Amnesty initiative.

“All we want is to be incorporated because we have already submitted our arms.

“The government has forgotten that real development is impossible in a chaotic environment. Are we to be punished for embracing peace?

“One of the conditions for surrendering our arms and ammunition was the assurance given to us the government that we will be incorporated into the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

“We submitted a lot of arms and ammunition such as Fiat Revelli Model gun, Colt Automatic rifle, Sango Scorpion, Dynamite Bitter explosives device, bomb and grenades.

“Others were severally AK47 rifles with serial number, military camp uniforms and some automatic cartridge, double barrel rifle, single barrel English and locally made,” he stated.

The former militants said they had made several appeals in the past which failed to yield the desired results.

They promised to continue to exercise patience to ensure lasting peace in the country and the oil producing communities in the state.

“We want to restate our loyalty and commitment to the nation-building programmes of the Tinubu-led federal government and the government of Gov. Lucky Aiyedatiwa in Ondo State to sustain the development of the riverine people,” he said.

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