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Militants give new conditions for peace in Niger Delta

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Militants give new conditions for peace in Niger Delta

Some militant leaders in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region on Thursday gave new conditions for President Muhammadu Buhari to meet, in order to ensure total peace in the region.

Included in the conditions is that all outstanding stipends to the militants and their leaders be paid without further delay.

Under the amnesty programme, each former militant is entitled to $213.68, while their leaders receive $400 each per month plus job training.

But according to them, a special adviser to the president had asked them to be patient as the programme was facing a cash crunch problem.

The 2009 amnesty programme has made it possible for a cross section of the militants, who surrendered their arms to enjoy some training locally and abroad.

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“We are calling for the immediate release of the balance sum of the 2016 supplementary budgetary allocation to avert any situation that will warrant beneficiaries of the programme going to the streets to protest and barricade roads,” Reuters quoted the aggrieved militants as having said in a statement.

The militants said failure of government to pay off former militants under the amnesty programme could jeopardise the relative stability in the region and even result in oil production again being choked off.

It could be recalled that the vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, as acting president, gave the government peace – talks a boost, with a series of meeting he held with the Niger Delta elders to convince the militants to end their attacks which had cut Nigeria’s oil output by 700,000 barrels a day (bpd) for several months in 2016.

But the militant leaders alleged that none of them has been paid since January 2017, quoting the amnesty office as saying that foreign school fees and other allowances had not been sent by the Federal Government yet.

Minister of State, Petroleum, Ibe Kachukwu, was quoted, through the Niger Delta elders appealing to the militants to be patient with the government as efforts were being made to resolve all outstanding issues.

It is believed that improvement in the production of crude oil output and higher sales price have contributed in the current availability of dollars in the economy with naira picking up better rate at the foreign exchange market .

But a spokesman of the Niger Delta Avengers, Brig.Gen Mudoch Agbinibos, had in January 2017 confirmed that there had been several threats to the peace move by the Federal Government to ensure that destruction of oil facilities in the area region is a thing of the past.

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