Thursday, 9 February 2012


Reps to probe amnesty as ex-militant threatens

The House of Representatives yesterday resolved to investigate the amnesty programme, which began in 2008. 
The resolution of the House came against the background of the renewed threats by some ex-militants to attack oil facilities. 
The House mandated its standing committees on Niger/Delta Ministry, NDDC, Public Safety and National Security, to investigate the performance of all bodies connected with the management of the programme. 
The committees are to report back to the House within two weeks. 
A member, Arowosoge Ifeoluwa Abiose (ACN, Ekiti), who sponsored the motion, spoke of apprehension in the Southsouth, following the threat to attack installations of the MTN, a leading GSM service provider and SAC Oil. 
Said Abiose: “MEND has concluded plans to attack South African companies having investments in Nigeria, particularly MTN and Sac Oil, due to the interference of the South African President, Jacob Zuma, in what they called legitimate fight for justice in the Niger Delta.” 
The lawmaker noted that MEND had already attacked in installation at Ogbobagbene in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, followed by another attack on a crude oil trunk line belonging to AGIP in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State on February 4. 
He said any attack on MTN investments based on Henry Okah’s trial will strain the diplomatic relations between Nigeria and South Africa. 
Abiose said with the wave of attacks from Boko Haram in the North, any insurgence by MEND will have unmitigated ripple effect on the economy. 
According to him, there is need to urgently prevent the ex-militants from carrying out attacks on the oil installations and bring production to zero level. 
Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha, who presided over plenary session, said the decision to investigate the amnesty programme became necessary to craft a comprehensive and integrated solution to the Niger Delta problem.
An ex-militant leader has warned government and oil multinationals operating in the Niger Delta to brace for more attacks, in the wake of last Friday’s bombing of the Brass Creek trunk line of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company in Bayelsa State.
‘General’ Ekiyes Para, a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), who was invited by the Joint Task Force for questioning over the incident, told reporters yesterday that the attack on NAOC is a tip of the iceberg.
He said: “The Federal Government has not seen anything yet; this is just the beginning. Unless they come down to us for discussion, they will see more deadly attacks in the days ahead.”
Para, who is also a leader of the aggrieved 3rd Phase Amnesty ex-militants, scoffed at the invitation by the JTF, describing it as a vain threat, adding that his arrest would not change anything.

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