…One militant allegedly killed two days after he declines to submit arms
Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
More militants and cult groups in Rivers State have beginning to make their intentions clear on whether to accept or decline the amnesty offered to them by the Rivers State governor, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike.
At the weekend two groups, Egi Freedom Fighters in the Ogba Egbema Ndoni Local Government Area and the Kalar Bomber in Ikwerre Local government area both in Rivers State have declined to embrace the Amnesty offered by the state government.
Egi Freedom Fighters who commended the Rivers State Government for the introduction of an Amnesty Programme for those involved in armed struggle in the state said it would not join the state amnesty until their demands are meant.
The Spokesperson of the Egi Freedom Fighters, Jenniffer Black, in a statement at the weekend insisted that they are not criminal gang and does not indulge in criminal activities.
Black said they resorted to arms struggle as a way of drawing the attention of government and other stakeholders to the age-long oppression, intimidation and injustice on the people of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government area.
She said the group demanded for the rebuilding of all houses damaged in Egi communities by alleged security forces sent by some companies in the area, and the release of all the people arrested during the raid of Egi community.
The Egi Freedom Fighters also said they want Total Nigeria Plc and other companies operating in the area to create job for the teaming youths of the host communities and to maintain all existing structures in the host communities.
Other condition in the demand of the group includes that the beneficiaries of Scholarship opportunities must be the less privileged in the community and the company must create special opportunities for the widows whose houses were affected by the raid.
They also demanded that Federal Government of Nigeria be a Signatory and must be aware of whatever understanding to be reached.
One of the militant leaders from Ahoada East Local government area of the state who pleaded anonymity told The Nation on phone that one of their strong leaders in the area who declined to submit his arms after several pleas was recently murdered.
The militants who claimed to be speaking with our correspondent from his hideout said some members of his group in the area rejected the state amnesty offer.
He noted that the remains of the assassinated militant which was thrown into the bush has been recovered and buried with the assistance of group members loyal to him.
Another group, Kalar Bombers said their refusal to accept the amnesty programme was that the state government did not enter into agreement with them.
The leader of the camp, who simply gave his name as Machete said his group want a proper agreement and not a television and radio announcement to accept amnesty programme.
Machete claimed that the ammunition in his camp alone worth more than N500M, adding that his group will not accept to submit that kind of assets that is providing food to them just because of state amnesty.
He said: “The state announced on radio and television that we should submit our guns and other ammunitions for skill acquisition, maybe in addition to small cash and they would be taking us for granted. We don’t want what happened at the Federal government amnesty to repeat again.
“We are very careful; we need three times of the amount of the ammunition in our camp. Don’t forget that if they give us amnesty they have succeeded in restricting us from any operation. We didn’t buy the arms with us, it was donated by politicians who were in desperate need of power.
“The ammunitions in our custody are the source of our daily bread, so, if the government is sincere they should invite us. We are not afraid to meet them, of course, we need freedom but we must be careful before we fall victim.”
When contacted, the Chairman of the State Amnesty Programme, Sir Kenneth Chinda, said the position of the militants was not a collective decision of Egi people.
Chinda, who is also the Special Adviser to the Governor on Amnesty Matters, explained that activities were in top gear to receive repentant militants in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local government area and other LGA.
“I know too well that it is not a collective decision of all Egi people. I am in Omoku (in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni) and we have mounted a pavilion for the retrieval of arms and ammunition.
“We have reached out to the other community and we are mobilizing them for the event”