12 February 2013

Nigeria: Ex-Militants Issue Ultimatum to FG Over Unpaid Stipends

Port Harcourt — Former Niger Delta militants who accepted the Federal Government's amnesty programme have said they were not happy that their monthly stipend of N65,000 each had not been paid since this year.

They have subsequently said they might take some actions against the government if the allowances were not paid by Wednesday.

The ultimatum came as the repentant militants also declared their support for President Goodluck Jonathan should he decide to contest in 2015, saying that nobody can stop Jonathan's return for a second term in office.

The ex-militants met yesterday in Port Harcourt under the aegis of the Leadership Forum for Peace in the Niger Delta, a body for all former camp leaders who accepted the amnesty offer of the Federal Government.

They arose from their meeting with a resolve to ensure victory for the president in 2015.

Leader of the forum, Reuben Wilson, told journalists after the meeting that the Federal Government should not blame anybody if the boys decided to misbehave at the expiration of the ultimatum because "a hungry man is an angry man."

Wilson said efforts had been made to make the Federal Government see reasons with the boys and pay the allowances which was approved for them by the former President, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua.

While acknowledging that the amnesty office was doing much to ensure that the former freedom fighters fared well, Wilson lamented that the National Assembly was frustrating their effort and urged them to expedite action on everything concerning the ex-militants.

"During the meeting, the former freedom fighters, who came from all parts of the region, were very specific as they expressed anger with the federal government over the non- payment of their paltry allowance.

"We know that it is not the fault of the amnesty office. Let the National Assembly and the Federal Government release the money to the amnesty office so that they can pay. We are not even happy with the N65,000 stipend. It is not fair at all that the leaders are being paid the same amount as their followers. This is one of the things we need to talk to the president about when we have audience with him."

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