No fewer than 56 former Niger Delta militants have dragged the Federal Government to court over unpaid entitlements, which spans for a period of four years.
The former militants who were beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme, through their counsel, Asobiyata Ojenamah, prayed the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt to compel the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and the Special Adviser to the President on the Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, to re-enrol them in the programme and resume the payment of their entitlements, which was stopped in 2015.
According to Ojenamah, who was speaking with journalists outside the courtroom, his clients approached the court after exhausting several avenues to address the situation, without getting any meaningful result.
Ojenamah explained that his clients decided to approach the court to continue payment of their stipends because they had been receiving their entitlements since 2009, when they were enrolled in the programme, but added that the payment was suddenly stopped by the Federal Government in 2015.
Counsel for the plaintiffs stated that, “We brought the matter before the court, because our clients had been denied their entitlements as beneficiaries of the amnesty programme since 2015 after they were enrolled in the programme in 2009 after successfully concluding their rehabilitation and other requirements; but in 2015, their names were removed from the payroll in a most bizarre fashion.
“Since then, several letters and appeals had been transmitted to the Amnesty Office, but no response was given to them; so, it is high time they approached the court to enforce their rights.”
The case was however adjourned till November 28, 2019, by the presiding judge, Justice I. N. Sani, for further hearing.