Gov. Sylva Hiding John Togo —Ex-Militant Alleges

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Ekpein Appah, the Obubra Camp Administrator for the rehabilitation of former militants has alleged that the Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva is harbouring John Togo, the Niger Delta warlord in Government House, Yenagoa.

The scathing attack on the governor by Appah made the allegation during the passing out ceremony for 1,200 demobilised militants who have been undergoing preliminary training at the Obubra camp in Cross River State, South South Nigeria.

“I am challenging the governor of Bayelsa State. I am saying it again. John Togo as I am talking today is in Government House, Bayelsa. Quote me on air and let him call me to order. What is John Togo doing in Government House Bayelsa? What is that man doing there? Are the SSS saying that they do not know that man is there or is the NSA saying he does not know?”

According to Appah, General Azazi, the National Security Adviser to the President is also aware of the presence of John Togo in Government House, Yenagoa.

“ I challenge Azazi too to prove that he does not know where John Togo is” Appah thundered while making his remarks at the passing out ceremony on Monday 16 May 2011.

According to him, when government officials feed unrepentant militants, they are sending the wrong signals to the public.

“Let no institution shy away from its responsibility and keep spending money and saying they are giving security votes to them; who are they fooling? The man is in Yenagoa. I am Ekein Appah, I am the Camp Manager and I am saying it. I am challenging the NSA, the SSS. Let them tell us that they don’t know that John Togo is in Government House being harboured by Sylva,” he declared.

Some people, Appah said, are benefiting from this crisis in the Niger Delta including the military. “Even in the military, yes they are fighting, but we know that the posting in the Niger Delta is the best posting now.”

He called on the Federal Government to ensure that they “level” anybody that stands between that peace and Nigeria no matter who he is.

“The Nigerian society is still led by human beings who want to make themselves tin gods and the government institutions allow them. So it is a big problem.”

He concluded his remarks by saying that Sylva is still harbouring John Togo in the Government House because he wants to use him to perpetuate the crisis in the Niger Delta.

“So if you offend him, he sends the boys to go and throw one bomb at you, then it would seem as if Niger Delta is in trouble: Amnesty has passed, John Togo is a criminal and should be treated as such.”

Mr. Kingsley Kuku, the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta in his speech underscored the need for those passing out to be of good conduct.

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“Based on the forms you have filled, the report of your trainers and counsellors as well as your classification report, the Amnesty Office shall in a short while place all of you who have successfully passed through the demobilisation exercise in this batch, at reintegration centres where you will acquire skills and vocational training. Those of you who have chosen to return to formal education shall be given the opportunity to do so,” he said.

He said the reintegration plan will not happen overnight since there are those who have passed out before them waiting for reintegration.

“As you leave here, you are joining a queue. Recall that 15, 136 trainees have already undertaken nonviolence transformational training in this camp before you. In fact, your graduation today brings the demobilised number to 16, 336.

“Of the number that have been demobilised so far in this beautiful camp, a total of 4, 759 trainees have been placed at 59 skills acquisition/training centres in 13 states of the federation. Another 2, 618 have been slated for training outside Nigeria.”

Mr. Kuku said already several other repentant militants have commenced training.

“Several of your brothers and sisters who left this camp before you have since commenced their vocational training or formal education in South Africa, Ghana, Malaysia, Russia and the United States of America.

“It is our projection that in the coming weeks, more of the trainees will be resuming in institutions in the UK, the Philippines, Israel and Romania for training in various fields of endeavour.”

He said that all those who have successfully passed through the Obubra camp will be placed in reintegration centres or formal education, a directive of President Goodluck Jonathan “And I am determined to effectively and efficiently carry out this directive. All I ask of you is to be patient and remain of good conduct.”

Mr. Kuku who was represented by Lt. Col. Adekoya, said the world is watching them and each time they take to the streets to make “unreasonable demands”, they abuse and endanger huge privileges that the programme has offered them .

“We cannot be investing time, energy and huge sums of money to teach you nonviolence only for you to step out of this place and do otherwise. It messes of up the essence of this demobilisation phase and frustrates the entire programme.

“You are my brothers and sisters and I must tell you all that we have come to a point where we must show and convince other Nigerians and indeed the international community that this programme is making the desired impact and thus worth continuing,” he concluded.

—Emma Una/ Calabar

 

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