Bayelsa Women Protest Dismissal Of Ex-Militant Pilot Trainees

Scores of women from Niger Delta on Tuesday staged a protest against the dismissal of 13 youths being trained as pilots by the Lufthansa Airline Training School, Frankfurt, Germany.

They said the youth were disgraced out of the school due to the alleged refusal of the Federal Government to pay the Amnesty training fees and scholarship grants.

It was learnt that the 13 ex-militants undergoing the training were last week sent away from the institution over non-payment of fees.

Other ex-militant youths from the region have also been sent packing by their various institutions in South Africa, Russia, Germany, Ukraine and European countries.

The protesting women, from some coastal communities, during their protest, who marched to the office of the Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital,  said President Muhammadu Buhari should be held responsible if there was a resurgence of violence in the Niger Delta.

They warned Buhari that as mothers, they were already feeling the heat and the gathering of disgruntled youths in their communities, saying the government’s refusal to pay the training fees was creating serious tension.

One of the protesting women, Madam Ebiere Ankiomete, warned that though President Muhammadu Buhari’s actions so far had given more hope to the people of the region, but his refusal to appoint a substantive Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Committee to liaise with Ministry of Finance to pay the training fund was a serious concern to them.

She said, “If the appointment is delayed till September, the Amnesty beneficiaries in institutions abroad would have been denied approved trainings.”

Addressing the aggrieved women, President, LPCDI, ex-militant commander, Pastor Reuben Wilson, appealed for calm.

He called on Buhari not to allow the PAP to disintegrate owing to starving of fundings to meet the aims and the objectives  of the peace offered to ex-agitators  in the region to pave  the way for harmony and smooth operation of oil production.

Wilson said, “The passionate appeal comes on  the heels of avalanche of complaints received by the indigent parents of the Amnesty beneficiaries, home and abroad, that their children and wards are currently experiencing hardship due to  lack of funds for the programme.

“President Buhari should not lose sight on the germane issue that brought about the PAP and save it from total collapse.

“Mr. President, we use this medium to remind you and the good people of Nigeria of promises to the people of Niger Delta about positive changes. Nigerians have since voted you into power because they need change, but from what we have seen so far, we have reasons to doubt how soon, if at all, the change will come.

“The peace we are enjoying in the Niger Delta area today is because of the Amnesty Programme initiated by President Umaru Yar’Adua because he had the interest of the Niger Delta people at heart.

“You will also recall that as a result of the Amnesty offer, the country went from producing 900 barrels to over 2million barrels of crude oil per day.”

Wilson said the parents who were infuriated at the attitude of President Buhari administration, since more than one month of assuming power, wondered if his words at inaugural speech of strengthening PAP was just lip service and deceit.

He said the truth was that anybody who meant well for the people of Niger Delta would not delay the payment of the Amnesty monthly stipends for a period going to three months now.

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Evabeta Tega

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