4 February 2013

Nigeria: JTF Yet to Brief Amnesty Office On Receipt of Weapons - Official

The Presidential Amnesty Office (PAO), said the office was yet to receive a formal brief from the Joint Tsk Force (JTF) on its receipt of weapons from militant groups.

Mr Daniel Alabrah, the Head of Media and Communications of the Amnesty Office made this known to the News Agency of the Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

Alabrah said that the group's decision to submit assorted weapons to the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Pulo Shield, in Yenagoa was commendable.

The group, led by its Commander, Inaemi David, 31, was reputed to have carried out numerous attacks on oil pipelines in the Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa.

David, who led members of his group to the JTF Headquarters in Yenagoa, had said on Feb. 1 that they decided to surrender their weapons because of their resolve to embrace peace and the Federal Government's amnesty programme.

The amnesty spokesman commended the Commander of JTF, Maj.-Gen. Bata Debiro, for "cleaning-up arms and ammunitions in Niger Delta".

Alabrah recalls that when the Federal Government proclaimed unconditional amnesty for the ex-militants on June 25, 2009, a total of 20,192 former agitators gave up their arms and ammunition and enrolled for the first phase of the amnesty programme.

He said that the terms of the amnesty include the willingness and readiness of the agitators to surrender their arms on or before Oct. 4, 2009, unconditionally renouncing militancy and signing of an undertaking to that effect.

"In return, the government pledged its commitment to institute programmes to assist the disarmament, demobilisation, rehabilitation and reintegration of the former agitators.

"At the expiration of the 60-day grace period on Oct. 4, 2009, a total of 20,192 Niger Delta ex-agitators had surrendered large numbers of arms and ammunition to the Federal Government and accepted the offer of amnesty.

"And pursuant to the letter and spirit of the Amnesty Proclamation, the Federal Government instituted a Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) package for those who accepted the offer of amnesty on or before the expiration date.

"Another 6,166 were added in November 2010 to constitute a second phase of the programme to bring the number of persons enlisted in the Presidential Amnesty Programme to 26,358," Alabrah said.

The PAO spokesman said that the Federal Government approved the inclusion of another 3,642 former militants totaling 30,000 in October, 2012.

He said that the PAO was committed to funding the disarmament process of 3,642 former militants, newly enrolled for the third phase of the amnesty programme.

According to him, the purpose of the process is to reconcile the disarmament record of the former agitators in the third phase of the amnesty programme.

"This is because they have surrendered their arms to military formations and security agencies," Alabrah said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that some of the weapons recently surrendered by the group include six wraps of dynamite and one AK 47 assault rifle.

Others include three locally-made pistols, one automatic revolver and 12 locally-made single barrel rifles.

Also submitted are two fully-loaded magazines, dozens of 7.62 mm ammunitions and three improvised rocket launchers.

The rest are six wraps of gun powder, 25 live cartridges, a pot of fetish concoction and a live tortoise.

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