Eighteen former militant leaders from three states of the Niger Delta region sent a protest letter to President Muhammad Buhari at the weekend over the disobedience of the Presidential Amnesty Office to orders of the court in the ongoing five-year litigation over their non-inclusion in the amnesty project.
The 18 aggrieved ex-militant leaders, drawn from Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa states, had embraced amnesty under the Third Phase in 2012, but have now warned that although they embraced peace and had taken their grievances to a Federal High Court in suit number FHC/YNG/CS/102/2013 in compliance with the peace preached by the Federal Government, the failure of the Amnesty office to obey court orders is provocative.
"The failure of the Presidential Amnesty Office, under Hon. Kingsley Kuku and Retired Brig. General. Paul Boroh, to comply with a court order to appear before the court or find ways to settle out of court with the ex-militants is provoking renewed tension and frustration among youth of the region," they said.
The protest letter by the aggrieved ex-militants — Asenekiri Oyinle, Trydi Okpeke, Angiama-Owei Oyindoubra, John Government, Henry Gomoromo, John Sawyer, Dollar Motor, Selebi Ayowei, Bobra Angese, Ekerebi Umber and others — alleged that the sense of frustration and deceit which played out during the era of Kuku's amnesty committee has been sustained by the Boroh committee without due respect to the court and its orders.
"The Amnesty Committee erred by refusing to include us in the ongoing amnesty programme after series of resolutions from meetings with the past and present National Security Advisers then and instead of respecting the resolutions and directives from the NSAs, the Amnesty Committee turned down the call to include the ex-militants and adopted a divide and rule tactics with the inclusion of three out of the 22 persons," they said.
"Although the case against the Amnesty Office was adjourned till 25th July, 2018, due to absence of the Federal High Court Judge, the failure of the Amnesty Office to appear in court or settle out of court, as requested by them and ordered by the court, showed that the option left to them may not be desirable to the peace initiative secured by you, the President, during a tour of the region by the Vice President. We are peace-loving leaders and resolved to draw your attention to the deliberate undermining of the peace in the region by the Amnesty office.
"With the resumption of Professor Charlse Dokubo as the new amnesty boss, we hope the legal tussle will end, court orders obeyed and the amicable resolution to our lingering suit be sought. We acknowledged the efforts of your administration to sustain the existing peace in the Niger Delta and we hope anti-peace elements such as past amnesty heads, Kingsley Kuku and Paul Boroh, will not become a clog in the wheels of progress, peace and development in the region."
In a statement of claim against the Presidential Amnesty Implementation Committee, the aggrieved ex-militants had sought the court order compelling the committee to approve reasonable slots for them as agreed at one of the peace meetings of December 19, 2011.
They are asking the court to compel the defendants to pay due allowances of the plaintiffs and their foot soldiers from March 2012 until the plaintiffs are fully settled under the Niger Delta Amnesty Committee and for the court to compel the defendants to immediately send the plaintiffs and their foot soldiers for the mandatory skills acquisition training for the Niger Delta militants.