FG Considers Amnesty For 1, 500 Arepo Militants – Boroh

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The Special Adviser to the President on the Niger Delta and coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), has revealed that plans are under-way to write President Muhammadu Buhari, to consider the inclusion of agitators from Arepo, Lagos and other South South states in the Amnesty Programme.

Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja yesterday, Boroh said that he had plans to write the Presidency for permission to receive the arms and ammunition from the willing militants.

He pointed out that while those willing to disarm at Arepo were 1,500, some of the contact people to the militants in the other states in the South South had been linking up with the office on the issue of disarmament.

Boroh said he would make the move because it was in the interest of the country to ensure that such dangerous weapons were taken away from them.

He pointed out that several militants involved in violent activities in Arepo, Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa and Delta states are making efforts to surrender their arms and ammunitions to the federal government.

The federal government is currenyly battling the vandals at Arepo, Lagos, through a Joint Military Task Force code named “Operation Awase.”

He explained that some of the militants intending to disarm were displaced from Bakassi while others who were armed in other states were willing to lay down the dangerous weapons.

On the steps he has taken since assumption of office, he said: “Since my appointment, I have come up with pragmatic steps towards ensuring stability in the Niger Delta region. For example, I am preparing a letter to the appropriate higher authorities to allow for disarmament at Arepo, Lagos; there are also some elements that want to do the same in Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and others.

“Some of these persons were displaced from Bakassi, some were armed and ready to disarm as well. It is more so because the Amnesty Programme is succeeding. Also, it is in the interest of the country that more people are disarming.

“A total of 1,500 are to disarm at Arepo. The figure is huge and frightening. In Delta, I am not too sure of the exact number, a verification has to be made. But there is a point of contact with them. It is also the same in the other areas.”

He commended President Buhari for his commitment to peace and stability in the Niger Delta by sustaining the programme, adding that several militants were opting to disarm because of the success recorded by the amnesty programme.

On the exit strategy, he explained that the office had to come up with an exit strategy of empowering the trained militants with starter packs to erase the impression that the government would pay the N65,000 stipends forever.

According to him, some of the ex-agitators would be pulled out of the programme.

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