Nigerian Ex-Militants Clash in Warri

Published on Tuesday 3rd August 2010

THE Joint Task Force, JTF, on the Niger Delta deployed soldiers with two Armoured Personnel Carriers to quell a clash in Warri between the second batch of ex-militants invited for training at Obubra, Cross River State, and the group that had not yet enrolled for the programme.

Trouble started when the ex-militants, who recently protested their exclusion from the Obubra training, both in Abuja and Warri, stormed the take-off point of the second batch of ex-militants drawn from Delta, Edo and Ondo states at the NPA waterside in Warri and took over the 12 luxurious buses meant for the journey.

When those who were legitimately invited for the training came, they found that their seats had been hijacked by other people and a confrontation ensued, leading to the damage of the windscreens of some of the buses.

Pandemonium ensued until the soldiers came to the scene to restore order. Later, the branded buses of the Post-Amnesty Committee left with the accredited ex-militants for Obubra.

The opposing group of ex-militants complained that they were left out of the programme and blamed their predicament on a popular ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo and organizers of the programme.

However, a source said the Post-Amnesty Committee was inviting the 20,192 ex-militants that accepted amnesty within the October 4, 2009 deadline of the Federal Government in batches and the case of those who submitted arms after the expiration of the deadline was still being looked into.

The source who is a top government official, said: "It is wrong for these boys to be causing problem in this way. They know they were not invited for this training, the names of those invited were published in the Vanguard Newspapers. Why are they here? It is not their turn yet. They should be patient and allow this programme to run."

About 106 ex-militants from the riverine areas of Ondo State are participating in second batch of the post-amnesty rehabilitation and empowerment training. They are to join others from Edo and Delta for the post-amnesty rehabilitation and empowerment training. They are from the oil rich Ilaje and the riverine Ese-Odo local government areas of the state.

Speaking with newsmen in Akure, the Coordinator of the Amnesty programme, Barrister Rotimi Olamide said: "At least 600 ex-militants in the state would benefit from the training by the Ministry of Niger Delta and the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC."

Ex-militants to be posted for training this month

There were signals, weekend, that the first batch of ex-militants who had completed training in non-violence at Obubra, Cross River State, would be posted to different training centres, within and outside the country, for the second phase of their rehabilitation and integration programme, this month.

Vanguard gathered that the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of Post-Amnesty Programme, Mr. Timi Alaibe had been on the matter since the first batch of ex-militants completed training in the first week of July.

A source said: "The Post-Amnesty Committee has finalized arrangements for the posting of the ex-militants that scaled through in the first batch. But it appears the committee does not want to unfold the details until the ex-militants resume in the different training centres. Within this week or latest, next week, I am sure the ex-militants would receive their posting letters."

He said some of the ex-militants, either in the first batch or subsequent batches would be sent to Norway to undergo Seafarer training after the rehabilitation exercise.

"They will opportunity to undergo a Seafarer training in Norway after the programe. The government is also offering them a four-year university scholarship, after which they are assured of a job, as new societal role models."

Investigation by Vanguard showed there was calm in Obubra, yesterday, as the traditional ruler, His Royal Highness, Clement Ewona and his subjects, after the trouble-shooting mission of Chief Alaibe, about a fortnight ago, were now ready to host the ex-militants.

Unlike the first batch of 2,000 ex-militants, who had access to the community because of the porous security nature of the camp, the second batch would be restricted to the camp, which is now completely fenced, and would be placed under surveillance 24 hours by security agents.



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