Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Former militants in Ondo State, on Friday, protested against the amnesty programme of the state government, threatening to return to the creeks over alleged inability of the state government to fulfill its promises regarding the programme.
The former militants, who live in the riverine parts of the state, converged on the office of the Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC), in Akure, for the protest and blocked all roads leading to the area.
The protesters set up burn fire to block vehicular access to the OSOPADEC office.
It, however, took the effort of mobile policemen, who shot sporadically into the air to disperse the protesting former militants before normalcy was restored to the area.
The former militants described the Amnesty programme organised by the state government between November 9 and November 21, 2017 as a sham.
The militant groups that joined the protest included: 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 (AwajaCamp), General Ebiee(Niger Delta Militant Vanguard), General Mayowa (Dragon Camp) and General Banju (Lion Camp).
They accused Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi of allotting slots to his friends, allies and political associates.
Also, they alleged that instead of using the Amnesty programme to achieve peace in the riverine area, the deputy governor used the programme to build structure for his senatorial ambition.
The former militants threatened to return to the creeks, if the state government refused to honor its own part of the agreement.
They 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.
But the state government said those protesting were not part of the amnesty programme of the state government but bunch of disgruntled jobless youths masquerading as ex-militants.
But reacting, Commissioner for Information, Mr. Yemi Olowolabi, said the amnesty programme of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has not only been lauded in the country, but has been recommended as model for other Niger Delta states.
Olowolabi said over 4,000 former militants were registered into the amnesty programme, but the Amnesty office in Abuja sent 1,000 forms leading to rationing of the forms among the various camps.
The Commissioner said the number of those protesting were insignificant to those who have submitted arms to the amnesty office.