13 September, 2011, Sweetcrude, Yenagoa- Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and the Chief Executive Officer of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku has lauded the clarification by the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta codenamed Operation Restore Hope.
The JTF had clarified that persons it received arms from in the region after October 4, 2009 were not promised inclusion in the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
Kuku was specifically elated over what he described as the Joint Task Force’s statement which rightly held that the granting of amnesty was a prerogative of the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
The Amnesty Office in a statement issued by its Head, Media and Communication, Henry Ugbolue said the position of the Joint Task Force tallies with the Special Adviser who had earlier declared that the disarmament for inclusion in the amnesty programme ended on October 4, 2009.
The statement reads in part, “Hon. Kuku is gladdened by the section of the JTF’s statement which rightly held that “the grant of amnesty is a Presidential prerogative. The JTF is not oblivious of this fact. Therefore it could not have proceeded to promise disarming persons amnesty.”
“This position tallies clearly with Hon. Kuku’s often held position that the JTF is statutorily empowered to mop up illegal arms in the Niger Delta but that such does not qualify the disarmed person or persons for inclusion in the Amnesty Programme.
“Disarmaments for inclusion in the Amnesty Programme ended on October 4th 2009.
Given this clearer position by the JTF, Hon. Kuku wishes to warn persons who have formed the habit of transmitting records of purported post-amnesty disarmaments as well as dossiers of supposedly disarmed persons/camps to the Amnesty Office to desist forthwith.”
The Amnesty Office warned that it would henceforth treat such persons as criminals and impostors and consequently hand them over to security agencies for prosecution.
It added, “Indeed Hon. Kuku is aware that genuine disarmament records and the dossiers of persons so disarmed should go to the Defence Headquarters or the Headquarters of the Department of State Services (SSS).
“Hon. Kuku welcomes JTF’s fresh deadline for persons with illegal arms in the Niger Delta to turn them in and assures the continuing support of the Presidency for the JTF.”
The JTF had Monday issued a seven day ultimatum which expires September 18 to all illegal arms bearing groups in the Niger Delta to turn in their arms or face the full wrath of the federal government.
Meanwhile, the group of ex militants in the region who last week protested on the nation East West road to be included in the federal government amnesty programme have expressed regret over their action.
Commuters plying the highway were subjected to harrowing experience as they were stranded for over five hours on the road before protesters were eventually dislodged by the combined team of men of the Joint Task Force and the Nigerian Police Force.
Kathy Sese and Tonye Bobo chairman and secretary respectively of the protesters who styled themselves, “Third Phase ex militants” in a statement issued in Yenagoa said as human who are not infallible their protest got out hand as a result of its being infiltrated by persons who were bent on causing trouble and pleaded with all Nigerians who were stranded in the gridlock caused by their action to bear with them.
“We are using this medium to appeal to the good people of this nation and particularly the people of Rivers and Bayelsa states as it concerns the protest which regrettably got out of hand because of infiltration,” they pleaded and promised to resort to hung strike in future to press home their demand to be included in the amnesty programme.