Former Niger Delta militants, under the Presidential Amnesty Programme, are appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to speedily intervene in the payment of five months’ salaries owed them by the federal government.
The ex-militants numbering over 30, 000 in Niger Delta appealed to the federal government to pay their outstanding five months salaries as they collect monthly allowance under the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
They have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the ministry of finance to release fund for the payment of arrear.
The quick intervention of President Buhari, they said, would douse the tension that is already mounting in the region over the unpaid money.
Mr. Salvation Ibina-Rufus, Chairman of Presidential Amnesty Programme, Phase II in Bayelsa State, said the government should take immediate action to avoid another round of restiveness.
“We equally want to use this medium to appeal to President Buhari to instruct the Minister of Finance to release the N30 billion approved by the Presidency to the Amnesty Office to enable Boroh to perform his work effectively.
“We are optimistic that President Buhari is aware of the sufferings and pains Christians suffered during the Christmas celebration due to non-release of salaries by the Ministry of Finance,” he said.
Ibina-Rufus made the appeal, as he sympathised with the aggrieved ex-militants, encouraging them to exercise patience with the government.
He noted that based on the meeting held with Special Adviser to the President on Amnesty, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (rtd), he was hopeful that beneficiaries of the scheme would be paid immediately after the New Year celebration.
The former militant believes that the delay in payment that they were experiencing was due to the Ministry of Finance’s inability to release funds for the Amnesty office to commence payment.
He then commended his members for their patience and understanding, saying, “this is really a tempting time so I am advising you to maintain the existing peace”.
He rationalised that Boroh had shown sincerity and commitment to ensuring the payment of all their arrears and advised other former militants to maintain peace and order, assuring them that he is very optimistic that their salaries would be paid immediately after official duties resumes.