Nigeria Orders Ex-Militants Out Of South Africa Over Flaws Of Amnesty Programme

Militants in South Africa

The Nigerian government has been insincere in its running of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, 90 ex-militants in South Africa have often cried out. Of this number, 28 arrived the Lagos Murtala Mohammed International Airport today at about 7p.m (Nigerian time), seemingly deported for raising the alarm over how Nigeria’s ex-agitators are being treated abroad.

On the SA60 Lagos bound flight was the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme and chair of the Amnesty Committee, Kingsley Kuku, along with other government officials including Henry Ugbolue, the spokesperson for the Amnesty Office. Days earlier, they had flown into South Africa to quell a controversy which in the past two months threatened to expose embarrassing dealings within the Amnesty Office which oversees the training of over 26,000 Niger Delta fighters who laid down their arms in response to late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s June 2009 amnesty call.

In this case, the ex-combatants had said they were deceived into believing they were coming to South Africa to be trained in Oil and Gas drilling; only to arrive South Africa on March 14, 2012 to be forced to learn carpentry and bricklaying.

Speaking from South Africa on Saturday night, Mr. Ugbolue however denied the ex-agitators were to be deported. He said they would only be returned to Nigeria pending when the Nigerian government would source a school offering oil and gas drilling for them.

“It is not true! They [ex-militants] said they want change of courses” Mr. Ugbolue said. “And they have the right to change their mind. So the SA [Mr. Kuku] said ok we will go back to Nigeria and look out for countries offering these specific courses they want before taking them there.”

Mr. Ugbolue, who could not say how long the returnees would have to wait once back in Nigeria, however blamed the ex-agitators for their predicament. He said they only declared they wanted to be trained as oil and gas technicians and not specifically stating oil and gas drilling. He also absolved Tubos International Limited, a training partner to the Amnesty Programme, of any wrongdoing in training the ex-militants. Tubos was the company contracted to ensure the ex-militants get their desired education in South Africa.

But Mr. Ugbolue’s efforts at make belief contradict the opinion of the Amnesty Office and Mr. Kuku who at a press conference, as stated in a December 8, 2011 official communiqué, categorically said “the placement of the trainees in skills acquisition/vocational programmes is based on their expressed interests in areas such as pipeline welding, underwater welding, ocean diving, crane operations, aviation, boat building, oil drilling, automobile technology, fish farming and entrepreneurship as well as formal education.” Nothing was mentioned of carpentry or bricklaying.

Furthermore, in the case of the 90 ex-combatants, they had consciously decided they wanted to study Oil and Gas drilling which they communicated to the Nigerian government while at the Amnesty rehabilitation and training camp in Obubura, Cross River State. Based on their chosen course, they individually received text messages and phone calls from officials of Tubos International Limited to attend an interview at Grand Montecito Hotel in Rivers State on January 19, 2012. There, they were told the company would facilitate their training in Oil and Gas drilling.

By March 14, the ex-agitators had arrived Cape Town, South Africa. Lodged at the Ritz Hotel, Sea Point Cape Town, which Tubos sourced for them, two officials of the company, Ms. Alexandra, a lawyer, and Mr. Robinson, the Tubos’ project manager told them their induction and orientation would begin the next day at Northlink College, a South African public Further Education and Training centre. But on March 15, they got a nasty shocker.

“The management of the college openly stated that the school has nothing to do with Oil and Gas or intention to train us to become Oil and Gas Technicians,” said several of the ex-militants. “Rather, they are equipped and prepared to train us on brick lying, carpentry, automobile mechanic, wielding and boiler making.”

The ex-militants, in a letter jointly signed on March 17, then petitioned Kingsley Kuku, the chairman of the Amnesty Committee and Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme; Ibrahim Bashiru, Nigeria’s Ambassador to South Africa; and Stan Rerri with the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, complaining how Ms. Alexandra and Mr. Robinson, supported by the staff of the Niger Delta Amnesty Office, especially one Ms. Ronke working in the Re-integration Department, threatened them with deportation if they refused what Northlink College was offering. Besides complaints of Tubos forcing them to sign a “extraordinarily stringent undertaking” putting them under conditions other lodgers at the hotel are not subjected to, they were also refused any right to create a representative committee amongst themselves.

“Mr. Robinson stated that we shall be deported to Nigeria, handed over to the Nigerian law enforcement agencies, our names blacklisted and all our rights as amnesty trainees shall be withdrawn,” the trainees said. “All 90 students were taken to Northlink College under duress and compelled against our wish to register for the above mentioned courses.”

By March 19, eleven of them boycotted their training classes in peaceful protest. By March 20, their number had increased to 40 and then 65, forcing a general meeting between the Nigerian government, Tubos, and the aggrieved trainees. By this time the crisis had already begun being reported in the South African media. Having identified those trainees determined on being trained in oil and gas drilling during the meeting, the Nigerian authorities promised the trainees a quick resolution was at hand. In an internal memo from Mr. Kuku’s office, urgent action was mandated.

“We quietly and quickly deport those trainees adamant on studying Oil & Gas related courses back to Nigeria immediately,” read a portion of the memo. “This way, these trainees can wait in Nigeria until they are called for a course that is to their liking, and the other trainees attending classes will not be influenced to join this growing group.”

But this action was stalled following observations that, “deporting our own trainees (over issues not related to violence or serious misconduct) back to Nigeria in less than one-week of their arrival to Cape Town could signal some operational lapses on the path of the Amnesty Office’s service provider [Tubos International Nigerian Ltd], or even worse – the Amnesty Office in Abuja.” They then decided to buy time.

It was not until March 27 those identified trainees were invited by Mr. Robinson and one Mr. Jones Emeka, the head of Nigeria’s Amnesty Monitoring and Evaluation Committee in Cape Town for a meeting ostensibly between them and the new school sourced to train them in oil and gas drilling. But to their shock, the ex-militants said they were informed by Derby Thompson, a South African and Welfare Officer of Tubos International Limited that they had been expelled from Northlink College.

“Mrs. Derby Thompson made it clear to us that she has gone ahead to hold meeting(s) with the school authority to facilitate our expulsion,” said the ex-agitators. “... that she and Northlink College have started the process to get our visas cancelled, and she promise that she will ensure that we are arrested as illegal immigrants.”

But speaking on behalf of staff of Tubos International Limited, Joseph Penawou, who sits on the board of the company, in a telephone interview defended Mrs. Thompson as being an elderly woman not capable of committing any wrong. He said all the allegations against his people are aimed at discrediting the Amnesty Program.

“All these are lies,” Mr. Penawou said. “There is no way the Amnesty Programme would deploy students to Cape Town without having gone to inspect the facilities and certified it fit enough to train on skills acquisition programme. People are just trying to discredit the Amnesty programme, so just ignore it.”

Not wanting to be portrayed negatively to the world in order to justify a forceful deportation, as has been the case of deported ex-militants worldwide, the ex-militants, in a signed letter dated March 28, again appealed to Mr. Kuku; Nigerian Ambassador Bashiru; and Mr. Rerri for fair treatment in their non-violent demand for their right to be given training in oil and gas drilling.

Further apprehensive of the Nigerian government’s next step considering their passports had being confiscated, and they were not given any certified copies of their passport’s info page, they also addressed their letter to Professor Kimse Okoko and Bristol Alagbariya of the Ijaw Youth Congress; Ledum Mitee of the Movement of the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP); Joy Imeli, the Public Affairs and programmes director with the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria (FEHN); and Remmy John, the Head of Re-integration under the Niger Delta Amnesty Committee; also copying Derby Thompson.

Fearing a trap, 62 of the ex-militants decided against following Mr Kuku back to Nigeria, instead accepting to undertake any training forced on them; leaving the 28 others resolute enough in their pursuit to expect Nigeria will maintain its promise to train them in oil and gas drilling.

Time will tell even as the clock ticks towards an end to the Amnesty programme which Mr Kuku has hinted could finish in 2013.

Report written by Peter NKANGA -2011 African Investigative Journalist of the Year (FAIR); and two-time Wole Soyinka Investigative Journalist of the Year (2011, 2010))

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tooo lazy

nah true talk,,,,,,, train dem on oil driln,,,,, and open there illgal oil companies as u said,,,,,,,, (KUKU)dont alow dem 4 anytn. great amnesty.

I think we should learn to understand something?

My their brothers, we should also know dat. It is not easy 2 train a group of people 4rm different background and i think? wat Hon Kingsley Kuku need is time 2 put things write, is realy not easy but also proper investigation should take place. Dey shoud mornitor some of dese agents, i think they ar d people giving d Amnesty office so much problems not kingsley Kuku, kuku might not even b aware of some of dis problems. Am telin u 4rm expirience, i hav bin dere, i understand dis things. I was in south africa too, pls beliv me dey ar d problems we ar havin not d office cus after money is bin givin 2 dem dey do wat de like, de dnt care of wat wil occur later. It was after deir lack of incompetence de wil start havin problems wit d boys, den later de wil forward rong reports 2 d Amnesty office. So is just a lack of mis unstandin btween d boys, d agents and d Amnesty office


Innalilahi wa inna ilayhi raju'un


umeh onkcuaehykwu.duke Posted on am umeh onkcuaehykwu,a 27years old boy from nigeria,a graduate of computer and information science lead city university ibadan.please sir,i tried to look for the link of where to fill the scholarship application form

Thanks but No thanks

Imagine how this people are stilling our money , I was at the press briefing in south africa and Imagine Mr kuku saying they are spending $50 000 000 US dollar on the Ex-millitants in south africa.So where is all the money going to? because now we have read that those Ex-millitants have being trained for boiler maker.


a vendor like Eradiri of Radnitz integrated services (fake company) that has never earned one naira before deducted the sum of 250,000 euros to buy himself a personal dredger which now gets contracts from mr keneth of NIMASA... This is wors than onomi sarbotage. Eradiri, a full drop out of UNI BEN now continued by diverting the funds of the militants , so its obvious that somon who wanted a voational training in oil and gas will end up as a carpenter.This animals do it to their own people.. Secondly , Eradiri travels round the world on other peoples expenses pretending he is an official from the amnesty office and this is with the knoewledge of mr Kuku... so to say 419 with the logo and cover of the amnesty office , but this little disgracefull man shall be pulled to justice soonest. UDENGS, Its ur payback time now, even your poor mother in bayelsa cant help you this time around . kingsley kuku , if you like involve yourself.

Nice one

Thanks man; you;ve got knowledge of what your saying

stupid ex militants

Fuck them; we are here suffering after all these criminals killed and raped our friends, sisters, brothers, mothers etc. They are paying them heavily, yet they have the guts to be making noise. Clowns; I don't blame them at all, all these are a systematic ways of stealing more money and enriching some few criminal elements from the Niger Delta.


My brother, may GOD bless u 4 saying the hard truth!

Thankless job indeed!

"Why he [Kuku] continues to do this thankless job is beyond me!, but suffice it to say that he is the kind of technocrat who understands that there is no greater call to citizenship than public service."

Thankless indeed! Since he took over, he has concentrated on overseas training! Do you know how much he makes in the process? He has a system in place that benefits him and his family alone.


I don't think jordan spizikethat they are any relationship, not at all." In the United States, local time earlier on Tuesday, before the blazers star brendan-Roy (Brandon Roy) attended the Seattle a activities, during talked about to return to the NBA topic. "At the moment I am the situation that is, if I would like to, I can always come back. Have the choice: it is always a good thing. I'vejordan 6 enfant been in and Tony Wroten training in the gym, you will find that soon you will miss the game to feel," Roy said. "In my heart of hearts, this is Ito do (playing basketball). But who knows

reasonable expectation

Some of u don't understand trust and sincerity,if u told them u ll train them in oil and gas drilling,then do so.ur the kind of nigerians that say one thing and do the cos u don't need them to spend recklessly u train them in capentary,doest make any sense.the ideal thing is if they misbehave they get arrested.


Are we actually rewarding these people for laying down their arms...for actually saving their lives ??. The reality is that these guys are spoilt. They have been laying their hands on oil subsidy handouts from the oil companies that they feel too big to actually learn something worthwile. Who are they to dictate what courses we send them to. They can sponsor themselves in any course they so desire. Are we going to train these outlaws so that they can start their own illegal oil companies in the delta ?. If you look at the history of the old militants, once they get their hands on the money, their go on a spending spree. Did you hear about the one the came to New York and bought a Roll Royce for his wedding and did not worry about the warranty. Try training him on anything... He simply has seen too much money and became lazy. Grow up guys and learn to fend for yourselves. GENERAL AMNESTY IS NOT GENERAL AMNESIA !!






Dear Sahara Reporters,

It is impossible to not appreciate the success and good work that Honourable Kingsley Kuku is doing with the Amnesty Project; who ever knew anything about Amnesty until he was appointed by GEJ to lead this programme? Why he continues to do this thankless job is beyond me!, but suffice it to say that he is the kind of technocrat who understands that there is no greater call to citizenship than public service. He is a good example of everything that is good about our country; and he has won many award at home and abroad to prove it;he has enhanced the name and possibilities in our country.

I suggest that Mr. Stan Rerri should mandate any training institution that seeks to do business with the Amnesty Office, to undertake a pre-departure visit to Nigeria and address the students before their trip and resumption of training in South Africa. This ounce of prevention will be worth the proverbial ton of cure.

Amnesty Office, make una carry go!

Frank Chukwuma


My father schooled in the uk courtesy of Awo's scholarship because of his academic exploits. Now we send a host of our youth abroad because they carried guns. Are we now going to send BH to afganistan to study chemistry and bomb making science?

Wickedness of Man to Man

Nigerians are known to cash in on every opportunity to fraudulently mess up their brothers. How on earth would you say you want to train someone in O&G then suddenly turn the person into Carpentry. Haba. God will not forgive these guys. Only God knows how much had gone into pockets of men. God will judge you all.

First of is true

First of is true that the amnesty is productive to d Niger deltans becos more than half the pple for that programme r nt indegenes...there shld b a proper investigation into kuku's activities.bcos rite now we r nt feeling d effect of that is being wasted.s

Lagos u err

Yr contribtion would ve been good bt u destroyed it when generalised NIGER DELTA as corrupt pple becuz the major pepple that looted d national treasur re names like IBB ,OBJ ,ABACHA,UMARO DIKKO ,ABIOLA ETC RE niger delta abi?Yr tribalistic & regionalistic exterimism blinded yr sense of proper & reasonin & extremist is a disease anywhere in the world,u re a disease & must cured becuz NIGER DELTA IS NOT A WASTE NATION BT AN OPPRESSED & DEPRIVED NATION

Lagos BOY lack sound reasonin

How dare u accuses Niger Deltan of being corrup.The Nigerians that looted the national treasury since independenc(1960) re all Niger Delta shebi;IBB,OBJ ,ATIKU ABACHA ETC are all NAIJA DELTAN ABI lagos Boy idiot,instead of u to point out the short-coming & flaws,u lost focus & as the tribalistic & regionalst extremist that u re ,destroyed yr point & contribution,yeye pikin


When the FG decided to sink some little change into the Almajiri thing, The Punch and their likes went to the market square to say rubbish about unnecessary favoritism, but when the FG started this money-spinning venture in the named of AMNESTY, they hailed it as a good thing but also favoritism for a region. Billions have been sunk into this thing and yet Nigeria has not seen concrete impact because of the Corruptive nature of any Niger Deltan put at the corridor of power, headed by Chief MUMU himself, GEJ. So, atleast we are seeing the structures in the north, that’s results if you ask me. But all we have been seeing in the Amnesty is some thugs sponsored on a Jamboree to oversees, clamped in 1st Class hotels doing nothing but fucking SA gays and compounding the HIV manage ravaging that region.

Kuku+Rerri = Disaster

u spoke my mind. who is this stan rerri? i hope he is not the same one i know back in the days in london. wetim him dey find for amnesty office? i think say GEJ dey serious for once. Stanoo rerri was worse than ibori back in our days. Kuku should get ready for an ibori treatment soon along side stanooo

Deri - Did you forget Buhari in this?

This is probably the first time I will read a commentary from Deri without the name of Buhari mentioned. What happened Deri? Did you develop amnesia about Buhari or was this just impossible for you to blame Buhari for the ineptitude of your master GEJ? May be I can help and suggest to you that Kuku is now working secretly for Buhari.

You are asking that Kuku should be fired. By whom may I ask you? Is that the task of Buhari or Tinubu? You never cease to amuse me Deri. You are such a big joke that no one takes anything written by you on S/R serious. Call a spade a spade Deri as your master is clueless about solving the Niger Delta problem.

The time your master GEJ cooperated with Ibori, Alams, etc, to raise up the militants to fight Aso Rock, little did he anticipate that one day he will occupy Aso Rock. He is reaping what he sowed and no amount of tales by the moonlight from Deri will erase this truth. So, let GEJ get on with it.


...did anyone get that theylodged over a hundred thugs at the RItz hotel in SA on tax payers money. When will this madness our government fcuking crazy!

@Deri: Re: Fire Kuku now before its too late

I guess Jonathan should fire Kuku and appoint you or OC (the fake lawyer); bunch of rogues, it won't make a difference, you are all hungry looking for what to eat .

We are surprised Buhari, Bakare, Awo, Zik, Wahal and Tundemash are not to blame for this. Bunch of animals who can't organise training for their terrorist brothers are expected to provide electricity, road and hospitals for Nigeria? Impossible ! Jonathan is brain-dead ! All he knows is to make vows !

@Deri: Re: Fire Kuku now before its too late

I guess Jonathan should fire Kuku and appoint you or OC (the fake lawyer); bunch of rogues, it won't make a difference, you are all hungry looking for what to eat .

We are surprised Buhari, Bakare, Awo, Zik, Wahal and Tundemash are not to blame for this. Bunch of animals who can't organise training for their terrorist brothers are expected to provide electricity, road and hospitals for Nigeria? Impossible ! Jonathan is brain-dead ! All he knows is to make vows !

ooh Nigeria

Corruption keeps flourishing in NAIJA like a tree planted by reiverso f water.We drink corruption like beer and coffee

Deri the moron

This man must be demented beyond salvage. Serious people are lamenting the fraud called amnesty program and you are exnorating dumbo but rather introducing your usual pasttime, ethnicity. Which 300 billion NNDC contract did secretary to govt get? Who awarded a 300 billion naira contract? Gej or who? The ones awarded to you what did you do with them, goathead. You will never remove the log in your own eyes..... What an idiot. Get life you pathetic, hateful moron.

I think that Nigerians have

I think that Nigerians have to give kudos to the Amnesty Office for the successes of the programme. I don't know thw SA Mr Kingsley Kuku but I believe he and members of his technical team are doing very well. Those who have bad children or soiled wards know the difficulty in correcting them. It requires time, patience and money. No amnesty programme succeeds 100 per cent. What is important is that majority of them should be living examples of the programme. These ex militants share a history of terribly bad habits and it is a miracle that some of them are turning a new leaf. Rather than vellify the Amnesty Programme, we should encourage the operators to do better. Amnesty is still far better than no amnesty unless we have forgotten what the situation looked like in the Niger Delta before now.

Real terrorist are deported

Those who will tear GEJ gov't are back. pls keep on building our 400 stangaya schools b4 they kíll u gej and do not let OBJ 2 get out of d country cos his hands is in every mess dat is happening in 9ja dat is y he resign from BOT of pdp. Note dat only Muslim can lead dis 9ja in peace & harmony even BH will b history if jery gana & j t hussaín are put bhind bars 4 Quastining. ss u loose & kudos 2 yaradua RIP.