By Cecilia Odey
Mr Wisdom Rufus, National Chairman, Association of Third Phase Ex-Militants, has called for the probe and prosecution of officers in charge of the operations in the Amnesty Office over alleged corruption.
Rufus who made the call on Saturday in Abuja while addressing newsmen noted that benefits due to the ex-militants appeared to have been diverted.
He said the Federal Government should as a matter of urgency call an emergency meeting with the leadership of the third phase ex-militants to address the issues affecting the group.
Rufus noted that the amnesty programme was introduced by late President Umaru Yar’Adua to the address youths restiveness in the Niger Delta as well as discourage them from destroying infrastructure in the area.
He said the programme was also introduced to re-orientate, reform, improve and re-integrate the agitators back to the society and discourage them from taking up arms.
Rufus explained that beneficiaries in the first and second phases of the programme had since been settled by the previous administrations, lamenting that the third phase beneficiaries had yet to be settled.
He said the third phase militants numbering about 10,000 surrendered about 18,000 arms to the government.
This, he said was to guarantee the ex-militants cooperation with the government in achieving peace in the region.
“Government made some legal commitments after we lay down of our arms.
“The commitment included disarmament allowances, payment of slot for each guns surrendered and housing allowances and proper documentation of the ex-militants in the third phase.
In line with the undertaking by the government, the office of the amnesty programme was created and shouldered with the responsibility of ensuring that all our members get their entitlements.
He said: “unfortunately, the amnesty office has failed to address our problems with a view to ensuring that our members get all what is legally due to them.
“The co-coordinator of the programme has bluntly refused to give us audience despite several attempts to send representatives to the office.
“Worse still, while we the beneficiaries of the amnesty programme are living from hand to mouth, officers of the amnesty office are living larger than life’’.
He blamed the present administration for failing to address the plight of the ex-militants in spite of their resolve to continue to be law abiding.
Rufus urged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency attend to the demands of group to ease their sufferings.