Niger Delta: Ex Militants Disown Former Leader



Members of the Okoloma Ikpangi camp of ex-Niger Delta agitators in Bonny, Rivers State, have dissociated themselves from the nefarious activities of a former leader of our group, Mr. Orinaemi Hart, and hereby warn him to stop parading himself as the leader of the Okoloma Ikpangi of Bonny.

In a statement issued yesterday, four of his compatriots, Gentle Nwiepe, Samuel Jumbo, Kelvin Tamunopirinye and Uzor Banigo, disowned their former leader, saying this was a unanimous decision of all members of the camp.

The measure is to extricate other members of the camp of blame in the nefarious activities embarked upon by Mr. Orinaemi Hart, and to set the records straight in his recent attempts to blackmail the person and office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Hon. Kingsley Kuku.

Contrary to Mr. Hart’s claim that the camp was allotted 500 slots at the time its members were documented for inclusion in the amnesty programme in October 2010 during the Second Phase of the Amnesty Programme, indeed only 100 slots were granted the camp in that phase.

It is also not true, as Orinaemi claimed that monthly allowances of members of the group were routed through indirect means to the beneficiaries.

Rather, Orinaemi sometime ago deceived members of the group and opened new accounts for 76 of them, which he submitted to the Amnesty Office for payment of monthly allowances for a period of 17 months during which he diverted about N83,980,000 into his pocket through the fictitious accounts he had submitted.

When the monthly allowance racket was uncovered by the Amnesty Office and the payment was stopped, Orinaemi in August 2013 devised another means to defraud the Amnesty Office by formally seeking financial assistance to the tune of N5.2million to defray a two-year rent, which he claimed to have owed on his residential accommodation, a request that was turned down by the Amnesty Office.

Consequently, Hart resorted to further blackmailing of the Amnesty Office and its managers with spurious allegations for turning down another of his request for a sum of N68,029,400 for the establishment of a phoney farm project, a proposal he failed to defend when invited to do so, fuelling suspicion that it was an attempt to obtain money from the Amnesty Office under false pretence.

We are dismayed at the actions and utterances of Mr. Hart even when there was a pending matter in the law court on some of his claims against the Amnesty Office, noting that besides the fact that it was sub judice, he should wait for the outcome of the suit which he instituted rather than raising false allegations in the media with the hope of gaining cheap attention from the authorities.

 

We vow to strip him bare by exposing all his criminal activities and fraudulent acts with documented evidence if he continued to portray the Okoloma Ikpangi camp and other ex-Niger Delta agitators in bad light.

 

Full text of the statement

“Before the declaration of Amnesty by the late President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (President Musa Yar’ Adua),  Orinaemi Hart was the leader of the Okoloma Ikpangi group. The camp had a total of about 280 militants including the leader – Orinaemi Hart. Sometime in 2008, members of the camp revolted and removed him as the leader because of his dubious character and raping of women in the camp. He was succeeded by one Bena Wilcox who was killed by the state security forces. Tuminu Hart then took over the leadership of the camp. Orinaemi Hart was later arrested and sent to prison as an Awaiting Trial inmate. He was in detention throughout the first phase of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, and he did not disarm or document in the first phase. About 200 ex-militants documented under Okoloma Ikpangi camp in the first phase of the programme under Tuminu Hart as the leader.

 

“When the second phase of the programme was granted by the federal government, Orinaemi Hart had been released from prison custody. He joined the remnant of the Okoloma Ikpangi camp who did not participate in the first phase for fear that the amnesty was a ploy to arrest all militants, and together surrendered 12 arms. Considering the embarrassment Orinaemi Hart has passed through, the rest of the members decided that he should be made the leader in the second phase of the amnesty programme.

 

“During the first phase, the leader of the camp – Tuminu Hart, was quick to put it on record that all the members of his camp could not present themselves for documentation because they were afraid and did not trust the sincerity of government’s amnesty proclamation. Bearing this in mind and other factors, the managers of the programme [Amnesty Office] conceded 100 slots to the Orinaemi Hart-led Okoloma Ikpangi group in the second phase. Note that 100 slots means the group submitted between 40 and 50 arms depending on the calibre. 500 slots meant the group must have submitted between 200 and 250 arms.  We challenge Orinaemi Hart to supply detailed information of the arms he submitted to the Federal Government.

 

“Interestingly, the process in the second phase is different from the first phase such that stipends were given to the state coordinators and leaders to pay the beneficiaries in the camps they led. This went on until they were invited for documentation. It was during this period that bank accounts were opened for individual beneficiaries and their monthly stipend paid directly to them, no more through the camp leaders. During the documentation, Orinaemi Hart submitted 100 names including his name. However, he failed to turn up for documentation but every other member did.

 

“Members of the camp also reported that during the period they were paid through Orinaemi Hart, they were being short paid and sometimes denied payment. The new system of paying directly to the beneficiaries was a big blow to Orinaemi Hart. Therefore, when the Central Bank directed that the old bank account numbers be changed to ten digits, Orinaemi Hart deceived members and opened new accounts for 76 members and submitted same to the Amnesty Office. For 17 months, he diverted about N83, 980,000.00 meant for the 76 members into his pocket through the new accounts he submitted. Those who were close to him, he paid N20, 000.00 and some N10, 000.00. The others he intimidated with the use of security agencies by accusing them of threatening his life.

 

“When the Amnesty Office got wind of the fraud he had committed, a team was sent to Bonny Town to reconcile the parties. Orinaemi Hart proved stubborn and abandoned members of the team in Bonny. Members of the camp were invited to Abuja severally, but he refused to meet with them claiming that he is the owner of the camp and no one can dictate to him how to manage his camp.

 

“It will interest you to note that the excesses of Orinaemi Hart and his fraudulent life style were noted by the Ibani Chapter of the Ijaw National Congress which complained same to the Presidency. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation wrote to the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta concerning the suffering of the members of the Okoloma Ikpangi camp.

 

“At this point, the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta invited all the members of the Okoloma Ikpangi camp in the second phase of the amnesty programme and after accrediting them, directed them to personally submit their bank account details. This was done and every member of Okoloma Ikpangi including Orinaemi Hart is being paid directly up to date.

 

“When this change of account was effected, Orinaemi Hart fumed, threatening that he has been quiet all this while, but will speak now and cause mischief by throwing up allegations that the Amnesty programme was a fraud after all, and calling on the Federal Government to probe the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta. When he was invited by the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, he apologised and asked for forgiveness and that he did it to gain attention. Thereafter, he wrote to the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta to give him the sum of N2,600,00.00 per annum to pay his house rent for two years. This request was turned down. Sometime in November 2013, he made another request for N68,029,400.00 to be given to him to establish a Agricultural Farm. When he was invited, he could not explain how he intends to utilize the funds if given to him. It was after all this attempt to defraud the Amnesty Office failed that he went to court claiming that he was allocated 500 slots, but was given only 100 slots by the Amnesty Office”.

 

Gentle Nwiepe

Samuel Jumbo

Kelvin Tamunopirinye

Uzor Banigo

(On behalf of members of Okoloma Ikpangi Camp)