About 1,500 Niger Delta militants on Sunday expressed willingness to embrace amnesty and surrender arms to the Federal Government.
Their decision was prompted by the intervention of Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The militants expressed their desire to surrender arms and embrace the amnesty programme provided the government remained sincere. They made this known in a statement issued in Abuja by their leaders from Arepo, Ikorodu, Abule, Fatorla, Ibafo, Magboro, Epe, Itokin, Ilepete, Okenekene, Agric, Gbokoda camps, Camp 5 and environs.
They however warned that their decision should not be seen as an act of cowardice but an act of patriotism.
The statement reads:
“We write to express our desire to surrender our arms and embrace the amnesty program as long as the federal government is sincere.
“With the timely intervention of the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, we the Commanders from Arepo Camp, Ikorodu Camp, Abule Camp, Fatorla Camp, Camp 5, Ibafo Camp, Magboro Camp, Epe Camp, Itokin Camp, Ilepete Camp, Okenekene Camp, Agric Camp, Gbokoda Camp and their environs, have made up our minds to accept amnesty because of the peaceful approach of the Minister of State for Petroleum.
“We also agree that all NNPC facilities and its subsidiaries must work for the betterment of Nigeria and the economic efficiency in the face of dwindling oil prices.
“However, our willingness to surrender should not be seen as an act of cowardice, rather, as an act of patriotism.
They expressed displeasure being excluded from the first amnesty programme, which according to them was not holistic and characterized with fraud and fraudulent selections.
“Also, as we accept this amnesty, it is important to state that the first amnesty was not holistic and was characterized with fraud and fraudulent selections. We were not included in that amnesty program. Even as we tried all avenues to join the program, we were ignored completely”.
They say they are hopeful that the Federal government will respond and are patiently waiting for their response.
“We are using this opportunity to call on all Nigerians to work with Mr. President to enable Nigeria move ahead.
“So, as we have agreed to come out, we state that we should be properly co-opted into the amnesty program. This is very important because we have skills and very vast knowledge and experience in the region. We have farmers, ship captains, ship engineers, divers, technicians, welders et cetera, and we have lived all our life in the region. Therefore, we understand every inch of the region.
“Suffice to say that we have integrity. We believe in the peaceful dialogue and peace initiative by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, and we will wait patiently for the response of the federal government so that we all can move Nigeria forward”.