About 3000 youth under a coalition of repentant militant groups have threatened to commence attack on public utilities and critical infrastructure in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States if the federal government fails to integrate all of them into the amnesty programme.
Members of the coalition who marched along Ibekwe road in Ikot Abasi local government area,Akwa Ibom State, Thursday March 1, 2018, said the federal government has failed to keep faith with different camps from Akwa Ibom and Cross River states who laid down arms to embrace the amnesty programme in 2009.
The coalition was said to represent seven militant groups identified as “Who sent you camp”, “City upland marine men”, “Niger Delta volunteers”, “Niger Delta watchdog”, “Niger Delta people’s volunteer force”, “Coalition of Niger Delta agitators”, and “Bakassi strike force”.
One of the leaders of the groups called General Emi during a visit to the President of Ibibio Youth Council, (IYC) Mr. Imo Okoko said they came out to tell the federal government that if all anormalies in the anmesty programme were not addressed within two weeks they will shutdown oil and gas installations and operations in Akwa Ibom and Cross River.
The different groups while addressing the President of IYC said part of their demand is that federal government must grant amnesty to General Simpli Benjamin as was granted leaders of other militant groups in 2009.
The group leaders said the movement which was a coalition of repentant militants from Akwa Ibom and Cross River feel betrayed that after they came out for the amnesty deal in 2009 they were shutout of the camp in Calabar, Cross River State shortly after they were admitted to camp.
The coalition said because of such treatment most of them were not documented nor included in the amnesty and post-amnesty programmes of the federal government.
They said most of their members who were willing to embrace the amnesty programme have gone back to the creeks because of negligence by government, emphasised that they will go back to the creeks after two weeks of this notice.
The coalition told the Ibibio Youth Council President to convey their demands to the state and federal government.
Mr. Imo Okoko, himself a beneficiary of the amnesty programme appealed for patience from the groups, urging them to allow government ample time to listen to them and address their grievances.
Okoko noted that their request for integration into the amnesty programme was not out of place.
He acknowledged that Akwa Ibom State which contributed the highest quantity of crude oil without disruptions when hostilities were tensed in the Niger Delta was not treated fairly in the amnesty programme.
Okoko said if the IOCs operating both onshore and offshore in the State had relocated their administrative base to the state most of the youth who out of unemployment go into taking up arms would have been properly engaged.
The IYC president assured the groups that he will convey their position to government.