Monday, November 22, 2010

Politicians Behind Recent Violence in N’Delta

Ex-militants undergoing non-violence transformational training at the Obubra Post Amnesty Camp in Cross River State have disassociated themselves from recent spate of attacks in the Niger Delta by MEND and few other groups.
Speaking to journalists at the camp in Obubra as Batch 9 of the ex-militants resumed training, the ex-militants said top politicians in the Niger Delta region are responsible for the spate of violence to achieve their selfish goals.
According to the ex-militants, “What is going on is criminality and top politicians and political office holders are behind it because they have been talking to some of us.
“Before we arrived here early last week to start this training, the government of Bayelsa State through some agents approached some boys selling the idea of recruiting us to fight for them in the coming 2011 election.  But since we embraced amnesty we cannot go back to be hunted like animals by soldiers”
George Silva, an ex-militant from Ogunboss Camp, Bayelsa State said he has leant to make peace in his community and to have respect for constituted authority.
According to him, “It is not everybody that is saying, I am a militant that is a militant. Militancy is not criminality. Some people are criminals and tagging themselves militants. I cannot see any reason why you say you are fighting for a cause and at the same time, they say you should drop arms and get what you want and you say no; and you keep on doing those things you are not supposed to do. What are you fighting for? What is the freedom about? Those are criminals”.

“Anybody that would allow himself be used by a politician for anything to cause trouble here or outside, I see that person as a foolish person. You have been rehabilitated. You have what it takes. If a politician can wear a Marks and Spencers shirt, you too with the help of this thing can wear it so what is the use of a politician asking you to use your shirt to fight. Why not him using his own. So I don’t see any means that someone will use to convince you to go and fight for him when you also have money. We are also big men by the grace of God”.

He said some politicians are bent on seeing that the Post-Amnesty programme does not succeed so that they would have people they would use to advance their selfish interests.

Another ex-militant, Tony Patrick from Boyloaf group in Delta State, who said he was a storekeeper of arms, also said “I love the programme. I have learnt a lot. I will tell any politician who comes to me now to go away. I am free. My advice is that according to what information given to us is that if you go back to your bad acts, you will be killed. That is the law. So advise other boys to stay calm and achieve what they came for.

“No boy that has passed through here will go out and do anything bad. I cannot go back to my old life. I can never be violent anymore. Let the politicians go and use their children. We are not doing anything for them again. Everything is going smoothly inside the camp here”.
24-years old Innocent Ayakwo Okoro from River State said he was combatant soldier in the Camp but that since the amnesty programme, “I have had free movement in town. I can express my freedom of expression and my rights and I commend the programme so much.

“As I leave here, I am going to teach other people what I have e learnt from here which is non-violence. With what I have learnt here, there would be no violence. Through this process that the Federal Government has started with the youth of the Niger Delta, I think there would be no violence anymore in Nigeria, not even Niger Delta. Because when at least 1000 people pass through this training, at least one person can reach out to 1000 and the chain effect goes on like that then the rate of crime would be less in this country not only in the Niger Delta”.