Ijaw youths ask government to pay ex-militants’ backlog of allowances
• Imams, Ulamas urge gov to arrest, prosecute perpetrators
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) yesterday urged the Federal Government to pay the five-month outstanding allowances of Niger Delta ex-militants.IYC spokesman, Mr. Eric Omare, who made the request in Yenagoa, said failure to pay the backlog of allowances subjected them to untold hardship, especially during the Christmas period.
The Niger Delta ex-agitators, some outside the country, under the amnesty scheme, were being owed five months allowances.Omare said that the council had in recent times, come under intense pressure from the ex-militants over their unpaid allowances.
He said that further delay in the payment of their outstanding stipends, tuition fees and other allowances, could aggravate the tension in the region.
Omare lamented the inability of Amnesty Office (AO) under retired Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh, to facilitate the payment. It rejected the excuses being offered by Boroh that the Treasury Single Account (TSA) was the reason for the delay.
The Liaison Officer of the AO in Yenagoa, Mr. Piriye Kiyaramu, confirmed that the office was “having a backlog of stipends to clear.”He, however, pleaded for patience, saying the office was working round the clock to ensuring the payment.
The IYC also described as reckless and irresponsible, the statement allegedly made by the Kaduna State Governor Nasir El Rufai, that Niger Delta militants were hired to carry out attacks in the troubled southern part of the state.
The President of the Ijaw Youths Worldwide, Udengs Eradiri, said the statement was not only inciting but also capable of causing more damages as people may see it as opportunity to attack innocent people from the Niger Delta.
Eradiri said: “Our issue had no business with the ethnic cleansing going on in his state. The Niger Delta issue is about the economy engagement of our people. We have no business with ethnic cleansing. We want to participate in any activity going on in our environment, period. That is what led to our agitation, that today we are being labeled terrorists.”
“Nigerians should disregard the statement. It is irresponsible of the governor to make such a statement.”Omare added that El Rufai, by his alleged statement was inciting the people of Kaduna State and by implication the entire north against Niger Deltans.
Meanwhile, irked by the prolonged crisis in the southern Kaduna communities, the National Council of Imams and Ulamas yesterday asked Governor El-Rufai to fish out and prosecute persons responsible for the attacks and killings in the troubled area.
The Moslem clerics, after an emergency meeting in Kaduna yesterday said: “the crisis will never stop until those behind it are brought to book.” Speaking with journalists shortly after the meeting, the National Chairman of the Council, Sheikh Abubakar Tureta urged the federal and state governments to find a lasting solution to the crisis in the area.
According to Tureta, “In the past, ex-military officers were behind the crisis in the region and failure of the then military government to arrest and punish them led to further escalation of the problem. There would never be peace without apprehending and punishing those causing and sponsoring crisis in this country.”
Advising the state government, the council said that ensuring prosecution of those involved in the unfortunate attack and killings would serve as a deterrent to other criminal-minded people.