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Niger Delta: Why Militants Are Fighting Again

Niger Delta: Why Militants 'Re Fighting Again

CURRENT low intensity war in the Niger Delta, Nigeria's main oil and gas region, between the Joint Task Force (JTF), a special security outfit, and unrepentant militants, is largely due to some unfulfilled promises and some aspects of the amnesty package perceived by the insurgents to have failed.

Findings by AkanimoReports on Monday tend to show that some of the ex-militant leaders who embraced the amnesty programme, are seeing the Federal Government as having reneged on the juicy promises to them.The late President Umaru Yar'Adua is alleged to have promised to reward the major ex-militant leaders with deals in the oil and gas sector, political patronages, and major contract deals.

Some 14 months after, the aggrieved ex-militant leaders say nothing seems to be happening in that direction.While some of the ex-militant leaders are calling for the heads of the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godsday Orubebe, and the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Committee (PAC), Timi Alaibe, for allegedly failing to deliver on the promises of government.

But, some well-informed sources within the PAC tend to be blaming some members of the Executive Council of the Federation who are holding key projects of the amnesty programme for the lull.Orubebe is handling the Infrastructural Sub-Committee of the amnesty programme, while Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, holds the Oil and Gas Sub-Committee, and the Environment Minister, John Odey, the Environment Sub-Committee.

Akinaka Richard, a Niger Delta activist who has been closely monitoring the affairs of the PAC since he was deeply involved in the demobilisation efforts of the repentant militants told our correspondent on telephone, ''the omnibus amnesty programme seems to be failing in the areas of infrastructural development, oil and gas and the environment''.

According to Richard, ''the ministers in-charge of these sub-committees were expected to develop action plans that would have form the basis of funding in the 2011 budget. As i speak with you (late on Saturday night), nothing seems to be working in those sub-committees''.

Continuing, he added, ''all that the world has been hearing about the amnesty programme are efforts of the Diarmament, Demobilisation and Re-integration Sub-Committee which is direvtly handled by Timi Alaibe''.

While analysts tend to see members of the Executive Council of the Federation as frustrating the PAC, military authorities are making good their promise to smoke out the unrepentant militants in their hide out.

The JTF has shut down some 18 militants' camps in the volatile oil and gas region while over 31,000 rounds of ammunition, anti aircraft gun, rocket propelled grenades and seven machine guns have been recovered as gun battle rages in the creeks.

JTF Commander, Charles Omoregie, an Army Major Deneral,has said that out of eight camps in Bayelsa State, President Goodluck Jonathan's home state, six were dormant while two were active.Omoregie named the dormant ones as Ezetu 1, 2, 3, Ekeni and Polama while the one in Foropa and Igbokiri in Southern Ijaw and Nembe council areas were active.

Apparently unshaken, the Niger Delta rebels have vowed to launch reprisal attacks, claiming that they will target the JTF) and the oil corporations.

While the JTF claims that they are fighting criminals, the rampaging fired back, ''we are civil agitators or freedom fighters, resisting internal colonialism and slavery by the Nigerian state”.

ENDS

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