By Elizabeth Vincent– Yenegoa,
A dreaded ex-militant group, Berebegha Camp, has called on the federal government to intervene on the non-payment of their monthly stipends and benefits by the leader of the Camp, General Joseph Evah since 2011.
The group made the allegation in an interview with our correspondent in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said General Joseph Evah, who is also the Coordinator of Ijaw Monitoring Group, a socio-political and cultural organization that harps in uniting the Ijaw ethnic nationality whose office is located in Lagos, was accused of diverting monies meant for the payment of ex-agitators since 2011 to private account, a development which has made them suffered untold hardship after dropping arms and ammunitions to the federal government and embrace peace.
The aggrieved members said the Berebegha Camp comprises, Peretorugbene, Enekekorogha, Ogriyagbene, Ayakoromo and Esaba communities, all in Bayelsa and Delta States.
They said the camp strength totaling 360 ex-agitators, arguing that General Joseph Evah pays only 184 out of 360 ex-agitators periodically, which according to them was against the laws establishing Amnesty office.
The spokesman of the Camp, graduate of Political Science from the University of Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Mr. Mislaw Ganren, said series of letters have been written to the Amnesty office during the tenure of General Paul Boro and Prof. Charles Dokubo to intervene on the matter but proved abortive.
The group said a committee was also set up by General Joseph Evah and headed by an Ijaw musical mastreo, Chief Barrister Smooth, affirming that Joseph promised to pay 30,000 and advised to submit bank details to one Chief Badei but all meet brickwall.
According to investigation, the 360 ex-agitators have undergone entrepreneurship and skills acquisition training in different specializations and issued certificate of participation and identity card bearing the name of Berebegha Camp with Joseph Evah as their substantive militant leader was issued to them.
Although, the group said they are not in the move to tarnish the hard-earned reputation of Joseph Evah because he is a Renowned Human right activist and lawyer but cannot accuse the wrong person of being their militant leader.
The group appreciate the APC led federal government on the fight against corruption and insecurity, calling for intervention on the matter before it will escalate to something else.
“Berebegha Camp was founded in 2011 which comprises Peretorugbene, Enekekorogha, Ayakoromo, Ogriyagbene, Ekogbene and Esaba communities. The people that Joseph Evah did not pay is up to 176 since 2011, and we have written series of protest letters to the Amnesty board but with no positive response.
“We are calling on the federal government to intervene in order to address this teething matter(s) once and for all. Joseph Evah is a man of integrity and status and we don’t want to tarnish his image in terms of payment but that is the truth. Barrister Smooth acted as mediator between us and Joseph Evah and he conveyed the issues we discussed to our militant General, and Joseph Evah promised to pay #30,000 and equally tell us to submit our bank details to one Chief Badei, but at the end of the day Joseph Evah did not credit the said accounts.
“We all know that Amnesty board was established to ensure peace and harmony and enable the militants to experience a sense of belonging in the Niger Delta, especially alleviating the level of poverty, but not a office to connive with leaders to defraud us.
“The ex-agitators have been trained and issued certificate of participation alongside with identity card by the federal government, which Joseph Evah is the Commander and General of the Berebegha Camp. I strongly believe that we are not tarnishing the image of Joseph Evah; he is a Renowned person and the people in question understand, as such, we cannot accuse the wrong person, but Joseph Evah is the man and militant General of the Berebegha Camp.
“We will continue to protest until all impending issues are addressed amicably without resorting to acrimony or violence.
“We appreciate the Buhari led federal government in the fight against corruption and insecurity and we urge him to extend same to the Amnesty board and activities of some of our leaders in various camps because Leaders like Joseph Evah are shortchanging their followers”, he concluded.
At the time of filing in this report, Comrade Joseph Evah did not entertain calls on his line 080334***67 rather respond to text message placed across to his phone line for comment.