Ex-militants protest non-payment of allowances in Bayelsa

Hundreds of ex-militant leaders and their foot soldiers yesterday took to the streets of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State in protest against non-payment of their two months allowances.
They barricaded the entrance to the Federal Government-owned Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board in Opolo, Yenagoa, alleging the failure of the board to address some their earlier demands.
The protest yesterday is coming on the heels of a similar protest on Wednesday when they closed the Patani end of the East-West Road.
The former Niger Delta agitators, who said they were protesting the non-payment of their November and December allowances, were persuaded on Wednesday by the troops of the Joint Military Task Force to abandoned their protest.
The protesting ex-militant leaders and their foot soldiers had stormed the premises of the NCDMB demanding to see the Secretary of the Board, Mr. Ernest Nwakpa, but were told that he was not around.
Not satisfied with that, the response almost triggered a scuffle between them and the security guards until a ranking official of the board came to placate the angry protesters.
The protesters had earlier used their vehicles to block the entrance to the board, preventing all vehicular movement from in and out of the premises and made straight for the main office before they were asked to choose those to discuss with the management.
After some minutes with management, the ex-militants in company of the management team came out to address the other protesters before they left the premises on an agreement that their other demands would be tabled before management in January.
Speaking to newsmen, one of the ex-militant warlords, ‘General’ Rufus Salvation, said they decided to storm the place after several letters to the board were unreplied.
He said aside the non-payment of their two month salaries and their housing allowances for two years now, the board had not done anything to ensure that those who were trained in the amnesty programme both here in Nigeria get jobs in the oil companies.
Salvation said many of the youths that were trained in oil-related fields were languishing in their villages as the oil companies had refused to employ them.
He said the local content board, which is charged with the responsibility of making sure that oil companies operating in the country make use of local contents had always looked the other way.

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