Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ex-militants among newly elected lawmakers in Rivers Assembly

Some of the dreaded Niger Delta militants, who accepted the Federal Government’s Amnesty, have been elected into the Rivers State House of Assembly, PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report.

The late President Musa Yar’Adua had in 2009 signed a Proclamation granting Amnesty to Niger Delta militants, who agreed to lay down their arms and embrace peace.

The deal offered an unconditional pardon and cash payments to fighters who surrendered their arms and assembled at screening centers located in many parts of the oil-rich region within 60 days.

It targeted up to 10,000 militants whose attacks in the six Niger Delta states cost the country a third of its oil production and revenue.

The amnesty which came to effect on Thursday, August 6, 2009, saw militant commanders, including Government Ekpemukpolo, alias Tompolo, Sogboma George, Ateke Tom, Farah Dagogo, Ebikabowei Ben, alias Boyloaf, Kile Selky Torughedie, alias the Young Shall Grow; surrendering their arms and returning to normal life outside the creeks.

But based on the result of last Saturday’s election released by the state Returning Officer, Faraday Orumwense, a professor of Material Engineering, the ex-militants are among the 25 candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, who won the poll.

The ruling All Progressives Congress was only able to win a seat in the 32-members state legislature.

Citing widespread irregularities and violence, Mr. Orumwense declared elections in six state constituencies inconclusive.

Among those who will be making laws for the oil-rich state are Farah Dagogo, an ex-general of a dreaded militant group.

Mr. Dagogo, an indigene of Tombia community was dragged into the race by the Degema Political Front, a frontline political group and he will be representing Degema State Constituency in the assembly.

Adoki Tonye Smart, who will be representing Port Harcourt 11 State Constituency in the new assembly was a former field commander and second in command to Soboma George.

Late Mr. George was a dreaded militant leader who was shot by a rival gang in the Old Port Harcourt Township, months after he accepted the government’s amnesty.

Chisom Promise Dike, who won the Oyigbo State Constituency seat in the assembly, is a strong ally of Ateke Tom, a self-styled General of the erstwhile Niger Delta Vigilante Forces.

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