Rivers State by aZ92te

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                                                           September, 2005

    *NOTE: NDPEHRD was required to change its name during a
 recertification process with the Nigerian government, and is now
     known as the Center for Environment, Human Rights, and
 Development (CEHRD). All references in this report were written
 prior to this change, and thus any mention of NDPEHRD or CEHRD
               reflects the same organization and staff.

The Small Arms Project

The Big Disarmament Gamble; The Comeback of The Small Arms and
Light Weapons.

CONTENTS

1.   Introduction

2.   The Disarmament/Arms Recovery Process; A Critical Review

3.   Disarmament as a Source of Quick Cash

4.   Disarmament As a process of Strengthening The Gangs

5.   The End of The Interregnum

6.   Conclusion

7.   Recommendations

8.   Acknowledge




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Introduction

Rivers State located in the Southern part (Niger Delta) region of Nigeria, of
late, has been one of the hot beds of violence and terror, which involves the
misuse of small arms and Light Weapons (SALW). This “new” status could be
traced to the 2003 elections, where youths referred to as cultists and militia
groups were groomed and armed by madcap politicians, to rig the election.

After the elections, both rural and urban communities in the state were
sacked and witnesses sporadic gunshots. Rival groups also engaged each
others in shoot outs on the streets. Many killed, maimed and injured or
displaced, many people killed and whose properties destroyed were actually
innocent folks. Actual statistics of the number of victims may be difficult as no
comprehensive study has been to be carried out to determine the number of
causalities. The deadly raids and attacks have been documented in our earlier
reports (A Harvest of Guns, August 2004 Report No. 1 and Guns
Everywhere; No One is Safe, October 2004, Report No. 2), these reports
are not exhaustive of the list of victims of the crisis.

The state of fear and insecurity generated by these attacks compelled both
the Rivers State Government led by Dr. Peter Odili and the Federal
Government led by President Olusegun Obasanjo, to embark on moves aimed
at containing the ugly situation. Government forces made up of the navy,
army, air force, mobile police and other security officials embarked on raiding
of areas believed to be hideouts of the cultists, gangsters and militias. While,
the raids were going on, the state government initiated the Arms-For-Cash
Programme, to mop up the arms. Monetary rewards and general amnesty
were given to those who voluntarily returned their arms; while those holding
on theirs were warned of governments resolve to deal with them decisively.
Some reportedly responded while others ignored both the monetary
inducements and the government warnings.

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The public perception then was that the raids by government forces was
targeted at Asari and his group, who were enjoying public support 1 while, the
case of Ateke was different 2. Angered by the raids on his camps, Asari did
not only increased the ferocity of his attacks, but threatened to blow up oil
installations in any part of the Niger Delta. Asari and Ateke were invited to
Abuja for a peace meeting with President Obasanjo.

 1.    Alhaji Asari Dokubo, the leader of the Niger Delta People Volunteer Force (NDPVF) accused the state government of
       sponsoring the violence that enveloped the state.

 2.    Tom Ateke is the head of the Icelander, a group believed to be a cult group. He is also the leader of the Niger Delta
       Vigilante Service (NDVS). He is accused of being supported by government and security operative to kill Asari.



The disarmament process yielding some dividends in form of relative peace
compared to what was being experienced before it was embarked upon.
However, the process especially the Cash-For-Arm Programme was not
transparent. The relative peace achieved was short-lived, a full-blown violence
later swept through the entire state, even in the schools 3, local communities,
streets and neighborhoods, throwing the state once again into a state of
palpable fear and insecurity.
What was gone wrong with the arms recovery/disarmament process? What
came out of the process? What is the level of illegal arms in circulation? The
report set out to tackle these issues.

2.    The Disarmament/Arms Recovery Process; A Critical Review
Before Obasanjo held a peace meeting with Asari, NDPVF’s leader and his
arch rival, Ateke in October 2004 at Aso Rock, Abuja, Nigeria’s headquarters
the warlords agreed to lay down their arms and cease all hostilities. The State
Governor, Dr. Peter Odili had already experimented an arms recovery project
tagged Arms-For-Cash Programme. Under this programme, financial
rewards were given to cult or militia groups who voluntarily returned their
guns to the state. They were also granted general amnesty despite the
mayhem they unleashed on the state. Although it was not known the exact
amount paid for each gun returned, it ranged between N10,000 to N250,000
depending on the type of weapon 4.
Between June 28 and July 23, 2005, about 324 guns, 5 dynamites were said
to have been mopped by the Mpigi’s committee. Out of these weapons, 2001
were AK47 riffles, 8 sub-machine guns, 3 automatic pistols, 7 pump action
riffles, I locally made pistol, and 4 assorted riffles. Two of the guns were
identified as belonging to the Nigerian army according to the inscription on
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them. They were marked NA 83/37739 and NA 83/21. The government
congratulated itself and boasted that the programme was a huge success 5.
Although the government has refused to disclose the amount of money it
spent on the Cash-For-Arms Programme, many believed that it my may have
gulped several hundreds of millions of naira. Yet, little was achieved, as the
ceasefire did not stand the test of time 6.
3.   The State owned University of Science and Technology, (UST) at Nkpolu, has become a battle ground for rival cult
     groups, see article by Patrick Naagbanton, University of Cultism and Criminality, The Midweek telegraphy newspaper,
     August 10 – 16, 2005, Vol. 1. No 91, page 9.

4.   Hon. Barry Mpigi the former Commissioner for Youth Development headed the committee. A top government officials
     told NDPEHRD researchers that N1.2m was paid for a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG), while 2 rocket launchers were
     exchanged for N3.5m to one of the militia leaders.

5.   In a press statement signed by Emma Okah, a lawyer and Chief press secretary to the Rivers State Government, which
     dated July 23, 2004, he claimed that the total guns so far recovered under the Cash-For-Gun programme was 307.

6.   All the various cult, militia and gangster groups worked for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state in that
     eventful 2003 election. The split in their fold came about because of internal struggle for political favour and power
     amongst the various armed group. This led to the armed rebellion, which has continued until date.




The collapse of the programme led to the involvement of the Federal
Government in the disarmament process. After the meeting, with the militia
leaders in Abuja, a committee headed by the Chief of staff at the Presidency,
Major-General Abdullahi Muhamed was put in place to follow up the process.
In addition, a disarmament sub-committee head by Odili at the state level was
also set up. The Muhammed and Odili committee worked together. This is the
second disarmament that took place in the state.
By December 2004, the Odili’s sub-committee claimed that it had collected
about 1,100 various types of guns, including 200 from Asari’s NDPVF.
However, Asari claimed that he had surrendered to the committee 3,000 guns
7
  .

Another government source also gave that figure as 845 firearms and 1353
ammunitions. A member of the Federal Government led by Muhammed
committee, Minister of Defence in the presidency, Ambassador Musa
Kwakwanso, while addressing some newsmen, gave the total number of
weapons recovered and destroyed as 2, 204 firearms and 2437 ammunitions
8
  .

The inconsistency in the figure being quoted by government officials as the
number of weapons recovered and destroyed by burning makes it difficult to
ascertain the actual number of weapons mopped up. This shows the
insincerity displayed in the arms recovery process. Transparency is a key
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component of any disarmament process. Unfortunately, because the
government and the militia have different agendas, there was no
transparency in what they were doing in terms of the disarmament
programme. However, to create the impression that they were concerned
about mopping up firearms and light weapons in illegal hands, they resorted
to the practice of making public show, before journalists, of weapons
gathered. In the first disarmament by the Mpigi committee, most of the guns
displayed 9 were unserviceable and unuseable, and therefore, wouldn’t have
been part of the sophisticated weapons being used to terrorize the state.
In addition, in the second phase of the Odili sub-committee disarmament, the
heat to disarm was more on Asari who was estranged with the government
than Ateke 10. The big question is how guns did Ateke actually surrendered to
the committee?

7.    Told NDPEHRD officials in an interview.

8.    See The Beacon newspaper, November 26 – December 2, 2004.

9.    Some of the weapons, NDPEHRD discovered may have been dug up from where they may have been buried before that
      time. They were just too old.

10.   Alhaji Asari Dokubo leader of NDPVF told NDPEHRD’s researchers that Tom Ateke only surrendered 6 riffles and the state
      government and said he surrendered 600 guns.




3.    Disarmament As A Source of Quick Cash
Like other projects of the government, the Arms-For-Cash Programme turned
out to be a drainpipe. Many of the gangsters and cultists amassed huge
fortunes from the “arms trade”. They sourced for guns from anywhere, and
submitted to government in exchange for N250,000 cash. It turned out to be
a lucrative trade as they made huge profits from the exchange. Asari once
collected 2 rocket launchers from “a friend” and submitted to government for
a cash reward of about N3.5m. He paid a fraction of the money to his source,
and pocketed a larger portion on the money 11.

They money realized from the “disarmament” process later became a source
of internal rift between leaders of the armed groups and their followers as
their followers accused their leaders of pocketing all the money without
bothering to settle them. The rift led to splitting of the groups and the
emergence of new ones. A breakaway from Asari’s NDPVF led by Mr. Boma
George and Farah once issued an ultimatum to Asari to pay them N500M as
their own share of the cash flow from the arms-for-cash deal so that they
would rehabilitate other groups that fought the war.
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When asked how they want to be settled, Bome George said, “it is give and
take; he is our leader, we know that he cannot account for all the guns. But
for the sake of peace, if he comes up with N500 million we will share it to the
various groups like Dee-bam, (KK) 12 who joined as to form the volunteer
force” 13 He estimated the total amount collected by their leader at N1.3
billion, saying that they submitted over 3,000 rifles and 2 rock launchers.
“Yes, from what we have counted, we have submitted more than 3,000 rifles
and 2 rocket launchers. If you calculated them, it is close to N1.3 billion. but
we are concerned about the 600 AK47 he gave at N250,000 each, 900 G3
rifles for which they paid N150,000 each, and 60 general purpose machine
guns exchanged for N1.2m” 14 he said.
11.   Boma George, who later broke away from NDPVF accused Asari during a interview with our team.

12.   The Eternal Fraternal order of the legion Konsortum a.k.a KK (Klansmen Konfraternity) is a violent cult group, which
      started in the University of Calabar, Cross River state in 1983 by five students. Deebam is one of their communication
      codes, which means “Be Strong” (See Naagbanton, University of Cultism and Criminality, The Midweek Telegraph August
      10 – 16, 2005). During the rivalry between Asari and Ateke the KK fought on the side of Asari.

13.   The Mirror newspaper, August 11 – 17, 2005, Port Harcourt.

14.   Interview with NDPEHRD, officials



It is not known whether Asari was paid the money. Boma George and Asari
Dokubo later resolved their differences and re-united 15. Some other
breakaway cult or militia groups, who could not muster enough courage to
confront their leaders, confronted the state, threatening to unleash another
round of mayhem unless government paid them their own share of the million
of naira. For instance, the KK once gave the government an ultimatum to
either settle them (pay them money) or be prepared for another round of in
the state. The Government also paid them some money 16. Through threats,
counter threats, ultimatum and blackmail, armed robbery and selling of hard
drugs, bunkering (oil theft) many gangsters amassed a lot of money and
further acquired more weapons.

Government officials who participated in the “disarmament” process also
benefited immensely from the cash bazaar. It was gathered that they also
enrich themselves and strengthened their own group for future political use.
Chief Fredrick Sunday Alasia, the Rivers State Government House Chief of
Staff is accused of sponsoring rival or splinter cult group to kill Asari17. In
March 2005, hundreds of unarmed NDPVF activists staged a peace protest to
Government House in Port Harcourt, calling for the removing of Chief Fred
Alasia, accusing him of being an obstacle to peace in the state.


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The committed set up by government officials in the name of disarmament
was further exposed around mid February 2005 following the arrest and
eventual death, in mysterious circumstances, of a Government House driver,
Mr. Bob Iche. The deceased was allegedly dispatched to Aballa, a small
village community notorious for manufacturing local guns near Aba in Abia
State (south eastern Nigeria), on February 8, 2005, was given N6,000 to
facilitate his movement. It is important to note that in December 2004, the
arms recovery gamble has ended officially.
Bob Iche was sent to the area without any security personnel assigned to him.
On his way back after collecting the guns already paid for, the poor driver was
arrested and detained. It was feared that he was later killed to cover up the
truth. Alasia denied ever sending the late Iche to Aba, but claimed he sent to
the University of Port Harcourt, at Choba in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to
collect guns from cultists 18.
 15.   See The Mirror newspaper, August 11 – 17, 2005, page 3 (Port Harcourt, Rivers State)

 16.   A leader of KK who pleaded anonymity told NDPEHRD in Tombia, another community in Rivers State ravaged by The
       violence that they were settled, but refused to disclose the amount to our field investigators.

 17.   Asari of NDPVF stated in an interview in The Mirror newspaper, August 11 – 17, 2005, page 2. Port Harcourt.

 18.   Reported in The Highlight newspaper March 14 – 27, 2005, page 10, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.




4)    Disarmament As A Process of Strengthening Gangs
The disarmament embarked upon in Rivers State in the wake of gun violence
was expected to mop up illegal firearms in the hands of gangsters, and put an
end to the state of siege in the state. Unfortunately, what was witnessed both
during and after the exercise, revealed an entirely different story. Apart from
superbly empowering the gangsters in the name of Cash-For-Arms
Programme, many of them were also strengthened through authorizations
that conferred on them some degree of impunity. They were given identity
cards with Rivers State logo. At strategic locations in the Port Harcourt City
they were seen.

At Lagos Bus Stop, in Port Harcourt, buses operating from there were being
forced to pay between N200 and N500 daily, and defaulters were brutally
dealt with. Even cultists who had been dislodged from their “territory” later
returned and continued with their business as usual. They go from house to
house in those areas to extort money from helpless residents. At Njemanze
waterfront, a squalid habitation in Port Harcourt, for instance, residents were
forced to pay N600 per room as security levy to the cultists monthly, while at
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Abonnema Wharf area, residents were forced to pay N500 per room month as
security fee.

A resident of Njemanze waterfront in Port Harcourt, who gave his name as
Tony, told our team of researchers that cultists masquerading as vigilantes
once broke into his room when he was in the village for the burial of his
deceased wife. He said they removed all his household properties and left a
note on his door inviting him to a house in the neighborhood known as
Hammer House of Horror, to pay the sum of N40,000 as fee. When he
located the real House of Horror, he coughed out N15,000 after much
pleadings 19. In addition to extortions, the cultists were also allegedly raping
women. Between November 2004 and January 2005, up 40 cases of rape
were alleged to have been reported to the police. The cultists raped women
when they cannot pay the levy they are force to offer them in return. The
amount was usually N500 and N1,000.

19.   Residents told NDPEHRD in interviews.




5.      The End of The Interregnum
In spite of the billions of naira committed to the disarmament project very
little in terms of what later turned out to be a very fragile cease-fire was
achieved. The ceasefire did not last for more than one month before terror
returned to our streets communities and neighborhood. Although, the known
leaders of the erstwhile warring factions. Asari and Ateke may not have been
directly involved in the renewed violence, but their members whom they
raised, are involved. The fragile peace, which had been under threat even
before was achieved, started cracking on November 3, 2004.

On the date above, cultists loyal to Ateke’s Icelander stormed a suburb on the
southwest of Port Harcourt and butchered one Minabo Fiberesima said to be
one of Asari’s NDPVF. The murder caused a lot of tension, as it was feared
that Asari and Ateke would renew their war. However, Asari resisted the
pressure to strike, but insisted that the killers of his Fiberesima be brought to
book. Ateke on his part promised to turn in any of his boys who were involved
in the act.
Eventually, Soboma George, Ateke’s second-in-command and several other
members of the Icelanders (Germans) were arrested. George believed was
betrayed by his leader (Ateke). That divided the Icelander (Germans or Niger
Delta Vigilantee Services (NDVS)). A new cult group was born called The
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Outlaws 20. A battle line was drawn between Ateke’s Icelanders and George’s
The outlaw’s. Daily attacks resumed in earnest from November 5, 2004, as KK
(Deebam) men armed with dangerous weapons, stormed No. 33 Market Road
in Rumuomasi, Port Harcourt in search of members of a rival gang in killing
one of their members in July, 2004.
The KK cultists succeeded in liquidating their targets, one Henry Anachor
Ikunga and others were injured. The police arrested three of the cultists,
while others escaped. Those arrested include Victor Dena, 25, Davidson
Akere, 21, and Emeka Elijah, 24. The Rivers State Police Command confirmed
the arrest and disclosed that they had confessed being among 5 members
sent on a reprisal killing of Henry Anachor Ikunga 21 .
On Sunday, November 25, 2004, at about 2 p.m, heavily armed cultists armed
with AK 47s, dynamites and other sophisticated weapons, in invaded Ula
Upata playground where the people of Ula Upata, in the Ekpeye Community in
the Ahoada-East-Local Government of Rivers State, gathered for a meeting.
Gun toiling men opened fire sporadically, resulting in the killing of three
people while many others sustained injuries. Two of the casualties include
Goddy Anike and Eze Ohahi.

 20.   Soboma George, a 27-year-old boy heads The Outlaws, the most dreaded and notorious of them all currently. Its
       membership is drawn from Icelanders (Germans) or Niger Delta Vigilante.

 21.   Dee-Well is another street gang that has also been responsible for violence in several parts of the state. The Vikings
       founded the Dee-Well as a street wing to fight other groups like the KK, which was becoming too influential in 2000.
       Currently, Dee-Well controls some part of mile III, Diobu, one of the suburb in Port Harcourt.



On November 26, 2004, men at Port Harcourt Tourist Beach Waterfront
gunned one of the police officer escorting money to Bomy down while several
others around the place injured.

The battle shifted to Rundele, a community in Emuoha Local Government
Area of Rivers State. On Sunday, January 27, 2005, at about midnight, people
were forced out of their sleep by bangs of gunfire and dynamites as the rival
cult groups, Deebam and Deewell 22 engaged each other in a fierce war of
supremacy in the area. The war lasted over 3 hours. However, it continued
the following day, and finally ended on Wednesday when security agents took
over the community. By the time the war ended, many houses were
destroyed, and over hundred people injured. One Ikechi (a.k.a Oyibo) was
butchered, while the community was deserted.
The period between January and April 2005 witnessed several attacks and
clashes by rival gangs in the state, but none of them shook the very
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foundation of the state the state like the abduction of Mr. Gregory Pie-Noah,
Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the Rivers State
House of Assembly, representing Khana (I) Constituency, Ogoni. He was
kidnapped from his Sii village on April by a group of youths armed with guns
and machetes, who said they worked for him during the 2003 election. They
were led by one Mr. Odomewa Fade, who disclosed that they had killed for
him and he promised to give them N5 million, but failed to meet up his pledge
to the cultists, thus the action. Pie-Noah was freed but money exchanged
hands.
On Friday, April 15, 2005, at Enunghan Community in Abua, in the
Abua/Odual Local Government Area of the State, armed youths invaded the
community. Over 20 houses and properties destroyed. A woman was shot on
the arm. From Enunughan, they visited Emesu and Pbaramu. At Emesu, 4
houses were destroyed while at Obarany, 2 buildings were destroyed. The
gunmen instructed the Obarany people to pay N320,000 as ransom to them
or risk a more devastating attack. The community gave the rampaging gang
N160,000, and pledged to pay the balance later. The gang was pacified and
left. But local residents told our team that the gang rigged election for the
PDP in the state.
On May 25, 2005, the Rumuigbo Community in Port Harcourt in the
Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State erupted as a gang whose
identity is yet unknown raided the community. The gang killed 3 persons at
Rumuigbo and destroyed properties there. On Sunday, June 19, 2005, at
Tombia 4 a local gang in the area called Okomera, which is affiliated to KK
(Deebam), murdered persons. The four prominent citizens of the community
are major Odogbo Israel Amakiri, a retired army officer; other victims are
Humphrey Obufa, Alalibo Ikiriko and Prince Dawaye Tobins (son of the
paramount ruler). All the victims were alleged to have been buried in
unmarked graves inside the Okpuruta forest; a place, which the Okomera
cultists have been using as their main operational, base and hideout.
June 17, 2005 will remain unforgettable in the history of the state. On that
day heavily armed militias believed to be loyal to Soboma George, the
estranged second in command of Ateke’s group, stormed Port Harcourt prison
where Soboma was held for allegation of murder. On arrival, they over
powered the armed security officials guarding the prison, broke into it and
“liberated” their colleagues. Also left off were other 400 prisons. The jailbreak


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heightened the existing fear as militias vowed to make the state unsafe for
residents.
July 18, 2005 witnessed co-coordinated simultaneous attacks in several parts
of the old Port Harcourt township 22. In several areas of the town, lives were
lost and sporadic gunshots witnessed as rival groups engaged themselves in
gunfire exchanges. The attacks came shortly after the killing of one Golden
Kalio, Tom Ateke’s new deputy, who was appointed to replace Soboma
George. Within that period was also the kidnap and death of Senibo George,
Soboma George’s brother by suspected Icelanders (Germans).
On July 27, the terror merchants visited Gambia Street in Diobu, at about
11.00pm. By the time, they finishing shooting indiscriminately, many residents
of the area, including a 10–year–old David Ogbonnaya were seriously injured.
The Dee-Well was fingered. It is all part of the war of supremacy to control
territory.
A gang of cultists invaded Rumuekpe, an oil-bearing community. The
community perches on the northeastern axis of Port Harcourt. The village was
burnt down on July 5, 2005. Many buildings were destroyed, while residents
were chased away, three community people were reportedly killed. While,
Rumuekpe was boiling, Umuechem, another oil producing community, which
was razed down and scores of locals were murdered on October 30, 1990, by
Federal forces loyal to former military leader, Ibrahim Babangida and Royal
Dutch Shell, was also boiling. On June 12, 2005, cultists allegedly royal to
Local Government Chairman of Etche again sacked Umuechem.

 22.   Soboma George’s The Outlaws, is locked in a fierce battle to dislodge the (Icelanders) Germans from the area. Most of
       his arms came from series of coordinated attacks on Ateke’s well-stocked armoury.




The month of August, like other months since the renewal attacks, was a
terrible month. No day passed without records of gang strike. On August 7,
militias believed to be that of Soboma George raided Borokiri and Marine Base
areas. On Sunday, August 28, 2005, gun-wielding Soboma George’s killed a
boy in his late 20s identified as Obinna believed to be a member of Ateke’s
Icelanders (Germans). The Outlaws struck at Borokiri, south of Port Harcourt,
as 3 innocent passerby died from stray bullets.
On Tuesday, August 30, 2005, only two days after the Borokiri tragedy, two
rival gangs, Soboma George’s. The Outlaws and Ateke Tom’s Icelanders
(German) clashed at 4 locations in the southern axis of Port Harcourt,
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Borokiri. The battlefield where these gangs clashed are Captain Amangala,
Harold Wilson, Churchhill and Market Road Streets. High calibre guns and
dynamites were freely used during the attack. The number of causalities could
not be ascertained at the time of this report.
At Alesa town in the Eleme Local Government of Rivers State was invaded by
an armed gang who identify is not yet know. The attack took place on August
20, 2005 when Alesa people gathered for the All Alesa General Assembly
meeting. The invading gang rained guns and stamped the entire crowd. At
the end of the gunfire, several people were injured.

6.    Summary/Conclusion
The resurgence of gun battles in which sophisticated weapons are freely used
across the state few weeks after the arms mop up took place put a big
question mark on the entire disarmament process embarked upon by the
government that the stuff was a huge success. The nagging question is, if
they actually mopped up and destroyed 3,000 guns as claimed, where do
these weapons being used today to terrorize the state come from? This report
doubts the entire process. It is observed that, the programme was designed
as a hype rather than ensuring safety of lives and property in the state.
It is observed that the disarmament project of the government empowered
both the cultists; militias, gangs and their patrons, some government officials
mentioned in this report also were empowered and strengthened for future
action. This, instead of mopping up volumes of illegal arms in the system,
government officials involved in the process as well as some of the gangs,
became involved in the illicit arms trade. Billions of naira may have been
wasted on the arms-for-cash project, little reprieve in terms of peace was
achieved; it broke down almost immediately, thereby giving rise to renewed
hostilities.
The renewed violence in the state is not surprising given the support, which
the gangsters have been receiving. This report is also doubts the Federal
Government sincerity to stop the proliferation of small Arms and Light
weapons (SALW) in Rivers State. NDPEHRD is of the view that if the central
government, NGOs, international community do not take drastic measures
against the Arms out of control in the state and bring those responsible for
the crisis to book the state will be a dangerous place to live in especially as
2007 election fast approaches.

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7.    Recommendations
(1)   The Cash-For-Arms Programme should be probed by the central
      government and other stakeholders for example NGOs International
      Community, Government.
(2)   A tribunal composed of the international community as observers, local
      NGOs, media and security agencies should be set up to investigate the
      gangs their sources of funding, their origin and sponsors with the
      mandate to bring to book those found culpable of the atrocities of the
      gangs.
(3)   The 2003 election should be revisited and any political office holder with
      any link to any of the groups should be brought to book too. This will
      certainly serve as a deterrent for future occurrences.

8.     Acknowledgements
The Board of NDPEHRD, 23 wish to thank the following officers of the
organisation, Mr. Stevyn Obodoekwe, head of NDPEHRD’s Human Rights
Programme, which coordinates the Small Arms Project, Ms Constance Meju, a
member of NDPEHRD’s Board and Mr. Patrick Naagbanton, coordinator of the
organisation who jointly conducted the research. Indeed, without their usual
passion and commitment this report would have not been possible. We are
also thanking the various persons who spoke to the team during the various
field trips. To them all, we say thank you.
23.   The Center for Environment, Human Rights, and Development (CEHRD), formerly known as the Niger Delta Project for
      Environment, Human Rights and Development (NDPEHRD) is a rural-based, non-profit and for-public-interest
      organisation, founded on August 15, 1999 by activists. To work with the rural people of the Niger Delta region to address
      the problems of environment, human rights, rural health and population and under-development plaguing the region
      through participatory research, advocacy, campaigns and enlighten/education of the people. NDPEHRD is a member of
      some local and international networks and coalitions; among them, is the International Action Network on Small Arms
      (IANSA) based in London, United Kingdom (UK) and the Nigerian Action Network on Small Arms (NANSA), Abuja,
      Nigeria. NANSA is the IANSA’s national chapter in Nigeria. IANSA has over 100 national networks all over the world
      working to stop the proliferation and misuse of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW).




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