Rivers State Government has described as false and baseless, allegations by some militants that Governor Chibuike Amaechi, was a stumbling block to their to acceptance of the offer of amnesty.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) had reported that at a meeting with President Umaru Yar'Adua in Abuja on August 7, some militants blamed Gov. Amaechi for making it impossible for them to renounce militancy and surrender their weapons.
The militants also alleged that for political reasons, Amaechi did not want them to come out for fear that his opponents would use the militants against his administration.
However, the Acting Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Blessing Wikina, told NAN in Port Harcourt yesterday, that the state government had initiated moves aimed at rehabilitating repentant militants before the presidential amnesty.
“Even before the amnesty was declared, we were working ahead of it. We are the only state in the Niger Delta region to set up a social rehabilitation centre for repentant militants,' he said.
The state government had set up a social rehabilitation centre, at Okehi, in Etche Local Government last year July, to rehabilitate repentant militants from the state.
The center is headed by Chief Albert Horsfall, a former Director-General of the State Security Services. The first batch of 300 militants trained in various skills and trades at the centre had been discharged.
“This is a measure of the level of importance we attach to peace in the state,” Wikina said.The spokesman said the allegations against the governor showed that some militants have not truly repented adding that the development was also an indication that the sponsors of the militants were the so-called opponents of the governor.
“We pray that they too should repent along side the militants. The Rivers state government will support any efforts that will lead to the total restoration of peace to the state and the Niger delta Region,” he said.
The amnesty programme took off at specially designated centres in six states-Rivers, Bayelsa, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Delta and Ondo on Monday and it will last 60 days ending on October 4.
It is expected that the militants who accept the offer, will turn in their arms and equipment, renounce militancy and undergo a period of rehabilitation designed by the federal government to curb militancy in the oil producing Niger Deltahttp://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=151084