Why there’s renewed violence in N/Delta-Gen. Mama T, ex-militants’ leader

Why there’s renewed violence in N/Delta-Gen. Mama T, ex-militants’ leader

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Ms. Timi Fred, a female ex-militants’ leader from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, is popularly known as “General Mama T.” She was one of the prominent ex-militants in the Niger Delta region who voluntarily surrendered their arms in the wake of the Federal Government’s Amnesty Programme in 2009.
General Mama T told The Point in an interview that the offering of preferential treatment to a group of former fighters seen as a special breed was the root cause of the renewed violent militant activities in the oilrich region.
Giving an insight into her activities while in the creeks, she said, “I’m proudly an ex-militant leader who knows her onions and there’s nothing my male counterparts do in the creeks better than I do. I swim better than most men, I’m schooled in the art of the use of weapons. Until the Amnesty was declared and fully embraced, I want to humbly say that I was a force when it comes to sundry activities of the militants then. We were all in it together and when the FG opened the window for Amnesty Programme, we not only accepted it but we turned to apostles of peace. The criminal neglect of the Delta region by successive governments and its attendant effects on the lives of our people, including myself, led people like me into militancy. We, the people of the region, are neglected though the resources on which the nation depends is produced from our region. It was the anger over that that led other well- meaning sons and daughters of the region into taking up arms”.
On the renewed violence, toughlooking General Mama T. further said, “I have mixed feelings towards the renewed violence in the region. If you ask me, the conditions given the Federal Government by the militants, are, to say the least, annoying. Such conditions like granting freedom to Nnamdi Kanu and Sambo Dasuki, who are not sons of the region and are both standing trial for alleged crimes, undermines the genuineness of the renewed violence because none of those conditions is in tune with the problems plaguing the region. How does Dasuki’s freedom put food on the table of the Niger Deltans? Our region is crying for development -both human and material. We need a Federal Government that will genuinely develop the people in whose domain the wealth of the nation is produced.
“Secondly, the renewed militancy is a resentment of the inadequacies that characterise the management of the Amnesty Programme. Ex-militant leaders are not equally treated and the inherent preferential treatment is the root cause of the violent reactions we witness today. Remove politics out of it, members of the Avengers had bottled up anger before they were goaded into blowing up pipelines. When you create anger and malice in the peoples’ mind, they become vulnerable and can easily be brainwashed into reacting”.
The ex-militant, who denied any connection with the Avengers, said, “I don’t know them and would never know them because I dropped my arms long ago and would not go back if the government, through the Amnesty office, right its wrongs.
“Injustice, lopsidedness in the allocation of Amnesty slots, corruption in the Amnesty Programme and delay in the payment of stipends to ex-militants, are wrongs crying for redress. How can you explain that an ex-militant like me, who surrendered large caches of arms twice with Certified JTF Report, has just four slots while those who surrendered once have slots ranging from 1000 to 7000, depending on who your godfather is. Nepotism crept into the allocation of Amnesty slots. While genuine militants live below poverty level, the political ex-militant leaders smile to the banks at the detriment of the genuine ones and this may snowball into a huge crises very soon”.
Commenting on General Boroh’s management of the Amnesty Programme of the Federal Government, she stated, “General Boroh needs to do more than he’s doing now. He has been informed of the disparities and preferential allocation of Amnesty slots several times, yet, nothing has been done. He also must work harder to shore up his popularity base among ex-militants across board and not patronising few big names while undermining those who have no godfathers. No one is more militant than the others. We knew ourselves in the creeks then and coming to play politics with an interventionist programme like the amnesty programme, could spell doom for the entire system.

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