Boroh denies exclusion of Itsekiri from amnesty programme
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul Boroh has refuted a recent claim that the Itshekiri ethnic group has been excluded from the programme.
Refuting a claim recently made by a member of the House of Representative from Warri Federal Constituency, David Ruyenieju, Boroh, in an open letter to the lawmaker stated that the Itsekiri had been skeptical about government’s intention in the beginning and had rejected the amnesty offer only to indicate interest three years into the programme when 500 of them were absorbed.
“The fact is that when in October, 2009 ex-Itsekiri agitators disarmed in Koko, Delta State, leader of the Itsekiri National Youth Association (INYA) and then member of the Delta Waterways and Security Committee, Mr. Newuwumi Omolubi, who presented a written speech said the Itsekiris we+re not militants and that the arms they submitted were merely for the protection of their communities. This he said, is the reason no Itsekiri can be found at any of the militant rehabilitation centres or collecting stipend under the programme. It was for this reason Itsekiris were initially left out of the programme since the Federal
Government could not compel anybody or group to be part of it” Boroh wrote.
He continued: “Even when the second phase of the programme was carried out, Itsekiri youths still remained outside it. It was not until Thursday May 17, 2012, three years into the programme, that based on a petition by the INYA, the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions held a public hearing on the issue at which, the then Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku told the House Committee that the Amnesty Office was fully in support of the Itsekiri petition to be part of the programme.
As we all can now testify, the programme has become a resounding success and these previously skeptical persons now want to be included.
“Subsequently, the Presidency gave the Itsekiris 500 slots under the Third Phase of the Programme”.
“Honourable, given such faulty foundation, your conclusion that “sadly the present handlers of the Amnesty Programme appear to be irredeemably determined to ensure that beneficiaries of Itsekiri extraction do not maximally reap the benefits of the programme” cannot but also be very faulty”, Boroh said.