Edo ex-militants allege diversion of pipelines protection contract
Some former militants in Edo State have alleged diversion of a multimillion Naira contract for the protection of oil pipelines meant for them in the Niger Delta.
This development has led to tension among the first and third phase ex-militant leaders and youths of oil producing communities in the state.
It was gathered that lives have been lost and injuries sustained in the ensuing fracas among the former militants who have been accusing each other of being responsible for the alleged diversion.
It was also gathered that some arrests have been made as a result of petitions from some of the former militants.
The petitioners, comprising mainly the third phase of the amnesty programme through their counsel, Paul Osarenhoe, alleged that about N250 million was diverted by some of the ex-militant leaders of Ijaw extraction in the state.
They accused a first phase ex-militant, Henry Binidodogha, also known as Egbema 1, of short changing them in the deal.
But in his reaction yesterday, Binidodogha disclosed that the oil pipelines protection deal, which was initiated a few months to the end of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2015, was terminated by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration on assumption of office, as it was allegedly awarded as a political patronage for the 2015 elections.
“The then coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku, actually got the contract through his outfit. We were informed that the contract would be split into two parts – one to the Benin area and the other for the Ijaw youths.
“Unfortunately, we were not privy to the details of the contract as the papers were with Kuku, who awarded the contract. He allocated slots to the ex-militant leaders based on the number of youths under their command and along community lines in the oil- bearing areas.
“Members of the third phase of the amnesty programme complained that they were allotted inadequate slots. Kingsley called a meeting where he appealed to us that we should give out part of our slots to the third phase members”.
The slots, about 4000 in all, were split into two equal parts between the Ijaw and the Benin groups,” he explained.
He disclosed that he kept to Kuku’s instructions by reallocating some of his slots to others, adding that some of the slots were not able to meet up with the demands of handling the contract and so they attached themselves to other leaders like him.
He disclosed that at a meeting held in Benin, which was attended by some leaders in Edo South, North and Central, a decision was reached on how the largess was to be shared.
Binidodogha gave details of how members of the third phase were assigned supervisory roles in the project, adding that many of them played truancy and refused to work despite the fact that they were getting their payments regularly.