Former Niger Delta militants, under the umbrella of the Second Phase Presidential Amnesty Programme yesterday, denounced reports that they threatened to attack branches of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over unpaid stipends.
This is just as they pleaded with the Federal Government to pay their three months’ arrears of outstanding stipends.
The former militants, in a statement issued on Saturday by chairman of the phase in Bayelsa State, Ebina Salvation, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to view the amnesty programme as a security programme due to the fact that it restored the fragile peace in the Niger Delta.
While lamenting that the delay in the payment of stipends to ex-militants was heating up the region, the statement pleaded with the government to release adequate funds to the Amnesty Office for effective implementation of the programme.
Mr. Salvation also called on the Federal Government to go back to the blueprint of the amnesty programme and implement its content by interfacing with the Coordinator, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (retd.) and the ex-agitators.
He distanced his group from a statement purportedly written by factional leader of the former militants under the second phase programme, Stephen Ebisintei, who allegedly threatened to shut down all CBN branches.
Salvation maintained that the Amnesty Office under the leadership of Boroh was doing well and therefore should not be blamed for the delay in the payment of their stipends.
He said: “We, therefore, describe the allegations of the faction as false, baseless, mischievous and wicked. The allegations lack substance and should be thrown to the dustbin of history by all right thinking persons.
“We, therefore, urge members of the group to discountenance Stephen Ebisintei’s display of falsehood which is a figment of his imagination and that of his co-travelers”.
He called on the security agents to be alert, urging them to find out from amnesty office the recognised leadership of the Phase to enable them stop people using the name to issue unnecessary threats and publications.
“That is the only way to hold people responsible if anything happens. Our leadership is enlightened, reasonable, law abiding and has respect for elders and the government”, he stated.