Akwa bom government plans to rehabilitate 462 ex-militants in two camp centres
No fewer than 462 repentant militants, who about nine months ago surrendered their arms and embraced amnesty, would have two rehabilitation centres to learn their needed skills.
Chairman of Ukanafun Local Council, Mr. Uko Idiong, disclosed this while fielding questions from journalists on the situation of militant activities in his council area in Uyo, yesterday.
He said that the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, had concluded plans to set up the two rehabilitation centres for the former militants drawn from Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo local councils, noting that such moves would forestall further security breaches in the state.
According to him, the former militants would be camped and trained in various vocations, including shoe-making, tailoring, welding and fabrication, carpentry and other skills at the Government Technical School, Ikot Adaidem and Government Technical School, Ikot Akata, in Ibiono Ibom and in Mkpat Enin local councils respectively.
It would be recalled that Ukanafun and Etim Etim Ekpo local councils, for about two years, was a no-go area for contractors, the residents and traders plying that route to Port Harcourt or Aba in Rivers and Abia states respectively.
The two councils were under siege by the militants for about two years, 2017-2019, leading to the displacement of over 2,000 local residents, who fled to the Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Iwukem and other far-flung places in Uyo, Abak and Ikot Ekpene.
Worried by the incidents, Governor Udom Emmanuel granted them amnesty in early 2019, urging the former militants who allegedly belonged to different cult groups, to “come out from their hidings, drop your arms for your sins to be forgiven.”
The amnesty deal, supervised by the then Commissioner of Police (CP) in the state, Mr. Samuel Ogunjemilusi and other heads of security agencies, according to Idiong, had aided the return of peace in the troubled areas with the displaced persons returning to salvage what was left of their property, including farming.
“We are witnessing the return of peace and everybody displaced by the incidents are back,” he said, but expressed worry that crimes and criminalities were still being perpetrated by the idle former militants, which he explained, was the major reason for the proposed rehabilitation camps.
He blamed their resort to militancy, kidnappings, armed robbery and other petty crimes by the repentant militants on the decision by the neighbouring Rivers State government to ban motorcyclists, which was their primary trade in Port Harcourt.
“You know these people were in Rivers State and their major pre-occupation was motorcycling’ business and they had to return to their state after their jobs were taken off them by the ban placed on ‘Okada’
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