Some unscrupulous persons may have cashed in on the unoccupied Obubra camp in Cross River State used for the rehabilitation of former Niger Delta militants, which was left unattended, to loot it.
THISDAY gathered that some unknown persons have carted away many valuable items and equipment installed at the Amnesty Rehabilitation Camp in Obubra, Cross River State for use by repentant Niger Delta militants, while they were undergoing rehabilitation programme.
Findings at the camp indicated that items vandalised and carted away include heavy duty generators, cabin offices, air conditioners, television sets, computers and other facilities which the Amnesty office did not want to relocate to another camp in Lagos.
The training ended in November last year and the camp was officially closed after over 26,000 ex-militants had been trained on non-violence, transformation and rehabilitation preparatory to their return to the larger society.
But the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), the original owner of the camp, had since regained control and operation of the camp.
But the facilities installed in the camp at the time were left behind for two reasons, according to a former spokesman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Mr. Henry Ugbolue.
He said the decision to leave the facilities behind is "one, to appreciate the kind gesture of the Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke, who allowed us to use the camp in the first place. And two, we left it because we believe that someday, we will also return to the camp and would not need to move facilities up and down".
Some officials left behind to oversee the camp, which is currently being used by NYSC members, said some people, claiming to be government officials, came with official letters from the Amnesty office that authorised them to carry the items away to Lagos.
But Ugbolue denied knowledge of any such letter, stressing that there was never a time that a decision to move the items was discussed.
He said: "Besides, we do not have any camp in Lagos, so I think it is the handiwork of some crooks. The SA (Mr. Kingsley Kuku) couldn't have given such an order. Why would we want to strip the camp bare of the facilities?
"The Amnesty office merely had some training outlets in Lagos which was owned by some other persons and so couldn't have been equipped by the Amnesty office."
With the denial of the Amnesty office of being responsible for the removal of the items, it is safe to suspect that the items have been stolen, and so far, nobody knows their whereabouts.
Asked if the items were diverted to another place, one of the camp officials said: "We don't know if they were diverted, but what we know is that they told us the items were to be taken to the Lagos camp."
The officials, however, could not explain why the presentation of a mere letter could make them release the items, without receiving clear instructions from the Amnesty office. As it has turned out, the said letter was forged. It could not be confirmed if the details of the vehicle used by those who removed the items were recorded.
This theft is coming on the heels of a presidential approval for the training of a fresh batch of 3,000 ex-militants at the Obubra camp and some of the missing facilities will be needed for use for effective camping.
It will be recalled that in recent times, some ex-militants have been protesting being left out of the amnesty scheme. The Amnesty office had explained that it was only President Goodluck Jonathan that could authorise the amnesty programme to commence another round of rehabilitation of former militants.
The Obubra camp is expected to be reopened soon to receive the ex-militants as the Amnesty office in Abuja is working round the clock to ensure a hitch-free take-off of the additional trainees that may be drawn from Cross River, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Ondo and Edo States.
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Committee, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, during a visit to the Cross River State Governor, Mr. Liyel Imoke, had commended the state for playing host to the post amnesty rehabilitation training programme for ex-militants, noting that, "with the completion of the phase one of the training programme, the original owner of the camp, NYSC, can use it for its orientation programme".