Ex-militants urge Osinbajo to wade into arrears of unpaid stipends

Yemi Osinbajo

Ag President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo

Niger Delta ex-militant leaders, Thursday, implored the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to consolidate the Federal Government’s peace efforts in the region by resolving many months of their unpaid stipends.

The ex-militant leaders under the Phase two Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) lamented that the Coordinator of the Programme, Gen. Paul Boroh (retd) had not paid them their stipends since January this year.

Six of the phase two leaders, who spoke in Yenagoa, commended the peace initiatives of the government in the Niger Delta, but claimed that the activities of Boroh if not checked could truncate the existing peace in the region.

They, however, mentioned one Major Bernard, who they said work in the office of Boroh, as a major obstacle to the coordinator’s desire to address their plight.

Some of the leaders, who expressed their frustration, are Paul Ebibokefie, John Esuku, Joseph Alfred, Esau Amaebimo, Goddy Kaduna, Clement Wodo and Passman Golukumor.

Ebibokefie, insisted that the amnesty office had failed to complement the efforts of Osinbajo to ensure peace in the Niger Delta.

He said: “The Federal Government has not paid our stipends since January 1st, 2017. We are, therefore, calling on the appropriate body, the good people of Nigeria and President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to order retired Brigadier-General Paul Boro to pay us our stipends.

“I can remember that the acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, came here two months ago saying he wanted peace in the Niger Delta on behalf of the Federal Government, and there has been peace since then.

“But, unfortunately, we have not been paid our stipends for five months and we are begging the government to look into the issue. There is hunger in the society but peace in the region”.

Also, Alfred, faulted Boroh’s management approach saying he had failed to convene regular meetings of leaders from different camps, like his predecessor, Kingsley Kuku, did quarterly, to discuss issues affecting the ex-militants.

“We do not know the reason he is refusing to call for meetings. We know he normally hold meetings for others in Calabar and Abuja but not for the second phase leaders.

“We are appealing to him to call the leaders for a meeting. We, therefore, appeal to the Federal Government to call him to order so it will not lead to an uproar”. He said.

In his reaction, Amaebimo, alleged that while Buhari and the vice-President were doing their best ensure peace in the region, one Major Bernard was instigating Boroh to work in cross purposes with the government.

He said of nothing urgent was done to address their problems, they would lock down Abuja in protest.

“Major Bernard should leave that office because he is not from Niger Delta. Federal Government should go to the schools and confirm what the ex-militants are saying.

“We have been enduring that is why we have decided to come out so the public can hear. We are going to take action if Federal Government refused to act. We are coming to Abuja”, he said.