Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) and Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), has said militants in the Niger Delta region were daring the will power of the Federal Government to crush them.
He warned the masterminds to be prepared to pay for the consequences of their nefarious action.
The PAP coordinator, who spoke to journalists in Abuja, Friday, against the backdrop of the recent attack on the Chevron Abiteye pipeline in Delta State, said the act is condemnable as it poses grave danger not only to the region but also to the Nigerian
“Pipeline vandalism is an avoidable self-inflicted agony. It is unreasonable to engage in such criminal activity not only because of the resultant economic effect on the country but particularly as it also negatively affects the Niger Delta environment.
“The act of vandalising pipelines is counter-productive apart from it being a crime against the state.
“Those involved in this nefarious activity are economic and environmental saboteurs. It will do well for them to refrain from it as my office is always open to dialogue regardless of their grievances.
“The Federal Government already has in place a well-structured reintegration programme for youths of the region, which has helped in maintaining the peace and stabilizing security of the region.
“The Amnesty Programme has made militancy unattractive in the region mainly because of the government’s sincerity and commitment to the programme. The proper thing is for those behind such activity to embrace dialogue,” Boroh said.
The Amnesty boss commended security agencies for their commitment to ensuring peace in the region. He warned that his office would not hesitate to delist and bring to book any beneficiary of the programme that engages in criminal activity.
Meanwhile, Niger Delta activist, Chief Ayimi Emami has urged the Federal Government not to bow to “cheap blackmail” and antics of a former militant leader who is allegedly behind Thursday and Friday morning’s attacks on strategic oil facilities and pipelines in Warri area of Delta State.
Emami’s advice followed renewed attacks on oil and gas platforms of Chevron Nigeria limited by a militant group, Niger Delta Avengers.
He said, “Those who have issues bothering on criminal activities and illegalities should go to the court to answer to their deeds and clear their names rather than resorting to cheap blackmail to arm-twist the Federal Government and the EFCC to drop the charges against them.
“One man cannot hold the Federal Government to ransom, he cannot hold the nation by forming a parallel government within the Nigerian state.”
Although Emami did not specifically mentioned former Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) leader, Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo) it was clear that he was alluding to the warlord, who is wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over his dealings with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Although Tompolo had surreptitiously denied links with NDA in advertorials and media statements, Emami said he was not impressed by the gimmick
He said, “It has now become a pattern for this wanted man to preempt the attacks by placing advertorial denouncing the group and after which the group would strike again.
“This is a clear and plain childish prank, disown the group three days before they strike and they would attack, blow up oil facilities and give a farcical reason for the attacks.
“The last time he said some APC members are behind the attacks, how did the ‘leader’ of the PDP become so abreast of the workings of these so-called disgruntled APC members? Who does he thinks he is fooling? What intelligence does he have to know who and when the attacks will come?”
A group, Niger Delta Avengers, recently claimed responsibility for the attack on oil pipelines in the region, fueling fears of a resurgence of militancy which was prevalent in the Niger Delta before June 2009 when the late President Umaru Yar’Adua granted amnesty to youths who hitherto bore arms and were sabotaging oil pipelines.