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Ex-Militants protest in Ondo, say amnesty program fake

Some Niger Delta militants groups in the riverine areas of Ondo State on Friday protested against the refusal of the Ondo state government to honor the agreement it made with the armed youths before surrendering their weapons.

The government had issued a 21 day ultimatum to militants in the state to surrender their weapons and embrace the Federal government Amnesty program.

The Militants who claimed to have dropped their arms during the arms submission exercise last year stormed the Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC) office in Oba-Ile, Akure as early as 7am.

The protesters set up burn fire to block vehicular access to the OSOPADEC office.

It took the effort of mobile policemen who shot sporadically into the air to disperse the protesting ex militants before normalcy was restored to the area.

The Militant groups described the Amnesty program organized by the Ondo state government between November 9 and November 21 as a sham.

But, the State commissioner for Information and Orientation, Yemi Olowolabi, said those staging the protest are not ex militants, but group of jobless and disgruntled elements masquerading themselves as ex militants.

The militant groups are the United Sea-wolf Avengers, The Awaja Camp, The Niger Delta Militant Vanguard, The Dragon and Lion Camp.

The groups were led to the OSOPADEC office by their leaders – General Deji Williams (United Sea-wolf Avengers), General Seamaco(Awaja Camp), General Ebiee(Niger Delta Militant Vanguard), General Mayowa (Dragon Camp) and General Bbanju (Lion Camp).

The militants who started their protest at the OSOPADEC office on Thursday accused the Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi of allotting slots to his friends, allies and political family.

They alleged that instead of using the Amnesty program to achieve peace in the riverine area, the Deputy Governor is using the exercise to build structure for his Senatorial ambition.

The militants threatened to return to the creek, if the state government refused to honor its own part of the agreement.

The ex-militants blocked the entrance of the OSOPADEC office to prevent staffs from entering as they accused the Ondo state government of conducting a ‘fake’ amnesty programme for them.

The ex militants called on President Muhammadu Buhari to send his men to the state so as to ensure that due process is followed and nepotism does not rule over sanity.

One of the militants who identified himself as Capt. Kingsley said the Ondo state Deputy Governor has politicized the exercise to the extent that more people of non riverine areas like Irele and Okitipupa are smuggled into the Amnesty program.

He said the Deputy Governor had told some them that the Amnesty program is strictly a social welfare package for members of the APC.

But the commissioner for Information said the number of ex-militants captured during the biometric exercise were 4000, adding that only 1000 forms were sent.

Olowolabi said the leaders from various camps were invited where they harmonised the forms within themselves and distributed them.

He said the amnesty program of the state government had not only received commendation from other Niger Delta states but has been seen as a model.

Olowolabi,however, said that very insignificant number of those protesting are not members of the executive agitators, saying those protesting are not ex-militants.

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