Monday, October 21, 2013

Ex-militants, leaders at war over non-payment of allowances

A group of ex-militants, under the aegis of Bakassi Freedom Fighters,
and their leaders have engaged in a silent war over the non-payment of
their allowances. The ex-militants have protested that since March
2011 their N66, 500 have not been paid by the amnesty office in Abuja
as promised after their demobilisation exercise and subsequent
They accused the leader of the BFF and the Cross River State
coordinator of Presidential Amnesty Programme, of allegedly
short-changing them.
In a protest letter addressed to Amnesty office and signed by 11
representatives including Clement Asinye, Effiom Henshaw, Ita Ikpeme,
Victor Edet, Ita Nyong, Charles Effiom, Lawerence Offiong, Andem Edem
Dick, Akpaitam Ikoh, Archibong Ita and Emmanuel Asuquo, the group said
in spite of repeated appeals to their leader and Amnesty office in
Calabar to look into their plight, they have rather treated their
matter with kid gloves.
In the letter made available to Daily Sun, the ex-militants are
worried that after going through all necessary trainings, their
leaders, have bluntly told them that they would not be paid their
regular allowances because the Amnesty office was said to have
declared their demobilisation exercise as illegal.
The former agitators revealed that after thorough investigations and
series of letters to the Amnesty office, they were made to understand
that all their allowances and other entitlements have been paid
through the Clabar office. The group said, "From investigations, we
were made to understand that the Amnesty commission has paid all our
monthly allowances and other entitlements. We were equally informed
that the commission that all financial dealings and activities of
Bakassi Freedom Fighters, BFF, passes through Mr. Akinak, being the
state coordinator."
However, to avoid open confrontation with their leaders, the group had
demanded "immediate intervention by Amnesty office by compelling the
duo to pay all our outstanding allowances and benefits including house
allowance/transition safety Allowance due them into their individual
account as against paying into a single account.
"That the financial dealings of the Akinaka and Franklin regarding our
benefits be investigated and want the Amnesty to stop moves or threat
by them to remove our names from the programme to forestall further
confrontation. "That the commission should as a matter of urgency
facilitate the speedy training and rehabilitation processes of our
members. And that until all these demands are met, the issue remains
unfinished business," they stated.
But the spokesman for the BFF, Nicholas Theophilus, had told newsmen
in of the interviews that protesting boys are not recognized members
of the BFF and urged them to channel their grievances properly. The
ex-agitators went through demobilisation exercise at Obubra Camp and
later proceeded to Lagos in December 2011where they completed the
process with training on conflict resolution, biometric capturing and
submission of bank accounts details, leading to the issuing of
identity cards and certificates

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