Thursday, September 8, 2011

‘We want amnesty programme’

7 September 2011

Ex-militants protest, block East-West road for hours

AS hundreds of former militants went on rampage yesterday, the amnesty office said President Goodluck Jonathan had not directed it to admit former agitators in the Niger Delta who failed to embrace the programme.

Hundreds of former militants drawn from Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Ondo states barricaded the
East-West Road
at Mbiama, Rivers State to protest an alleged plot by some influential persons within government to exclude them from the third phase of the amnesty rehabilitation programme.

The Guardian learnt that the former militants blocked the busy
East-West Road
as early as 4:30 a.m. and made several bonfires, and this prevented heavy-duty vehicles from driving through the busy route.

As early as 6:30 a.m., following a security alert, men of the Joint Task Force went to the scene of the protest and tried to persuade the former militants to open up the road for a free vehicular passage but they refused.

The fierce-looking former militants brandished various placards with the inscriptions such as “We have surrendered our arms, include us in the amnesty programme,” “President Goodluck Jonathan fulfil your promise to pay us our allowances,” and “We want our payment in one week or.....”

The leader of the protesters who identified himself as Julius Joseph said they wanted President Jonathan to prevail on his Special Assistant on Niger Delta Affairs, Kingsley Kuku, to immediately include them in the amnesty programme.

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