Amnesty for oil militants under way

ABUJA - Nigeria yesterday began the implementation of an amnesty deal for militants in the Niger Delta as part of efforts to end violence in the oil-rich region, the amnesty committee said.

ABUJA - Nigeria yesterday began the implementation of an amnesty deal for militants in the Niger Delta as part of efforts to end violence in the oil-rich region, the amnesty committee said.

"The amnesty proclaimed on June 25 2009 by President Umaru Yar'Adua formally begins today," Timiebi Koripamo-Agary, spokesperson for the committee said yesterday.

Yar'Adua had offered the unconditional amnesty for all militants who waged an "oil war" against Nigeria since the beginning of 2006. The amnesty runs from August 6 to October 4.

"The programme provides amnesty and unconditional pardon to all persons who have directly or indirectly participated in militant struggles or the commission of offences in the course of militant activities in the Niger Delta," the amnesty committee said.

It said to take advantage of the amnesty, all persons covered should go to the nearest screening centre, turn in their arms, register, take the oath of renunciation and receive the presidential amnesty and unconditional pardon.

The committee also appealed to those still "harbouring second thoughts to follow the example of the Mend (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta) leader Henry Okah who has not only taken the amnesty offer but is today a free citizen of our country and the world".

Okah, leader of the most active militant group in the region, was released last month after a treason and gun-running trial. - Sapa-AFP

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