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Niger Delta Ex-militants Stage Protest In Delta



Niger Delta ex-militants have threatened war over the federal government’s alleged plan to slash the 2016 budget for the presidential amnesty office.

The Punch reports that the ex-militants under the aegis of Presidential Amnesty Phase II argued that the proposed N20bn for the initiative was unacceptable because the amount could not cater for their monthly stipends.
On Monday, December 14, the ex-agitators staged a peaceful protest around major streets of Warri, Delta state, calling on the federal government to respect the Memorandum of Understanding it signed with them.

The protesters were carrying placards with inscriptions: “We say no to the plan to reduce the amnesty budget”, “Buhari, please don’t force us to go back to the creeks”, “Saraki, leave our budget alone”, “Ex-militants reject the 2016 amnesty budget”.

Speaking with journalists, Gen. Aso Tambo, the national chairman of the 6166 Presidential Amnesty Phase II, expressed dissatisfaction with the alleged reduction of their monthly stipend.
“Our problem is that we have been receiving budget of this programme from October 4, 2009 till today and our budget used to be N86bn. Last year it was N68bn. But this year, we were reliably informed that the 2016 budget for the programme is N20bn.
“If they are giving presidential amnesty programme a budget of N20bn, we don’t know what the federal government wants to use the money for because N24bn is what they use in paying the N65,000 monthly stipend of the 30,000 ex-militants. So, if you are giving a budget of N20bn, we don’t know what they want to use the money for. Is it for our stipend or is it to push us to the creeks to go and fight a war? Or they want to use the money to buy arms for us to go and fight Boko Haram?
“That is why we decided to stage a peaceful protest. We want to use this medium to tell the federal government that they should reverse the budget. We know what amnesty stipend is. Amnesty stipend is N65,000. When you multiply that by 30,000 it will amount to about N1.9bn monthly. So if you put it together in 12 months you will arrive at about N24bn and above. So we don’t know why the federal government has approved N20bn,” he said.
The former militants warned the government to leave the Amnesty Programme alone if it wants to sustain the peace in the country.