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FG bows to ex-militants; agrees to pay stipends following blockade of East-West Road

By News Express on 04/07/2016

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The Federal Government has pledged to offset outstanding stipends owed ex-militants under the Presidential Amnesty scheme. This followed a protest on Monday that resulted in the blocking of the ever-busy East-West Road by the former militants.

The ex-militants in the early hours of Monday blocked the East-West Road/Mbiama axis linking Bayelsa and Rivers states over the non-payment of their five months stipends, subjecting road users to several hours in a traffic gridlock.

The intervention of the Commander of the Joint Military Force, Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Joseph Okojie, who appealed to the aggrieved militants and promised that the government would pay the stipends within the week, calmed frayed nerves.

Brig-Gen Paul Boroh (Rtd), Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, also said the Federal Government would pay the ex-militants their outstanding stipends this week.

The coordinator stated this in a statement he issued in the wake of protests by the ex-militants.

Boroh in the statement explained that his office was doing everything humanly possible to ensure that their stipends were paid as at when due.

He said: “It will be counterproductive for ex-agitators to take to the streets at a time the federal government is making frantic efforts to address the challenges facing the programme.

“Anti-social actions, such as violet street protests, among others, could be hijacked by hoodlums to cause mayhem on innocent and law abiding citizens, to discredit the programme and embarrass the government.”

The Amnesty Coordinator also called on all ex-agitators in the Niger Delta region to shun acts that are inimical to public peace.

In his own appeal, Mr Ebi John, Leader of the Third Phase, Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, urged his colleagues to shun acts of violence, adding that only peace can engender development.

“I am appealing to my colleagues to be patient as plans are on top gear to ensure that the stipends are paid this week,” John told newsmen in Yenagoa.

Also, a former agitator under the First Phase of the programme and Executive Director of the Peace Advocates Outreach, Mr Kalaiti Jepthah, urged the ex-agitators to shun violence.

“My fellow ex-agitators let us listen to the voice of wisdom in giving the Amnesty Office the benefit of doubt,” he stated.

•Photo shows Paul Boroh.

Source News Express

Posted 04/07/2016 9:50:13 PM

 

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