A retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG Udom Ekpoudom, has described as a scam the recent amnesty granted to militants, who have been terrorizing Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun Local Government Areas, to lay down their arms. The DIG stated this in an interview he granted an Uyo based Newspaper, Central Times.
The security expert said that the amnesty was a cover up to re-engage the boys politicians in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are planning to use to prosecute the 2019 general election in the state. He queried the number and caliber of arms returned by the benefiting militants and insisted that what were returned were mere Dane guns, while the real and sophisticated arms being used by the militants to cause mayhem were still being kept to be used during the election.
“I don’t have any problem with amnesty. You know PDP people bought guns for these boys. They used these boys during elections and thereafter dumped them. Now another election is around the corner, they are now using the idea of amnesty to regroup these boys so as to use them for next year’s election. So, the whole thing is a big scam. It is a scam. The same people that recruited them before, they know election is around the corner, they are bringing them back again under the guise of amnesty. Do we really care to ask, the kind of guns these boys have been using to kill, to maim, have they surrendered those guns? The arms they are surrendering now are not the ones they have been using for their operation. They get to places and gather locally made guns to surrender. They are not surrendering the real arms. The real arms are being preserved to use in fighting again. Go and check, how many machine guns have you seen them surrender? How many K2 guns have they surrendered? How many AK47 have they surrendered? How many of these chain ammunitions have they surrendered? What they have surrendered are dane guns. The other ones are being kept for next year’s election. It is a ploy by these politicians. They keep the boys in a hotel, to use them during 2019 election. They are grooming them. It is unfair. It is a scam,” he asserted.
The retired senior Police officer, urged the boys to beware of those who provided them with arms, used them for previous elections and are now planning to use them again. He said such people are not their friends, because instead of sending them to school, they are arming them to get killed or to kill their fellow human beings. He warned that this time the federal government will use everything at its disposal to ensure that no trouble maker gets away with his evil.
“And I want to warn these boys again that they should not allow themselves to be used again. Last time, they used them and dumped them. Some of them died innocently. Now the same people that dumped them are coming for them again. I’m advising them to refuse being used again. The federal government will not tolerate it. The Federal government will mobilize enough police, and enough men of the armed forces to handle them. Any civilian that will be caught with arms will have himself to blame. The parents of these boys should also advise their children to shun criminality. These people that have used them have built houses here and there. They have built houses in Abuja and in foreign countries. They have sent their children to schools in foreign countries. How many of these buys have built their own houses? How many of them have bought cars? I am advising these boys in their own interest not to come out and foment trouble during next year’s election, because they will not be spared,” he warned.
DIG Ekpoudom hinted that boys are being recruited from neighbouring states to come to Akwa Ibom and foment trouble during the election and warned of the dire consequences of such actions. He said, “Apart from these boys they say they have granted amnesty, information at our disposal is that these same politicians have gone to Ogoni to gather Ogoni boys to come and register in Etim Ekpo during the registration period so that they would vote. Let them come, we are waiting for them. Let them come from Ogoni to Etim Ekpo to vote. In a nutshell, the idea of amnesty is not bad, but this particular amnesty is a scam.”
He stated that Gov. Udom Emmanuel had merely paid lip-service to insecurity in the area, adding that the governor’s attitude in combating insecurity in Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun had been deceptive and half-hearted. He narrated his experience with the governor in the search for peace in the area. He said, “He set up a committee to look into the problem and provide solutions. He told me to be in charge of the committee. We never knew that the governor was just making a mockery of the whole thing. We had several meetings in my office. I spent personal money in the process. In fact, some people used to come from Portharcourt, from Calabar, Lagos, and so on for the meetings. We met for over seven times. We brainstormed seriously and finally came up with a report. I did not know that the Governor was not serious about solving the insecurity problem. To submit the report to the governor was a problem in itself. One of the persons behind the buying of guns to these boys went behind and brainwashed the governor and told him my report would not be balanced but will be biased and that the governor should not collect the report. Because of that, the governor was avoiding me. I tried and tried yet I could not meet the governor. He was dodging me. He refused to get the report from me. I would stay from One O’clock and remain there for long after sending text message to him that I’m downstairs, the governor will close office and leave without seeing me. I went back with the report and said I would not go there again. So, the governor was not serious about solving this problem. He did not take my advice.”