Twenty-seven former militants from the Niger Delta State of Nigeria have been arrested by the police in Takoradi for allegedly heckling a hotel attendant and holding their coordinator hostage. The suspects and 183 others, who arrived in the country to train at the various national vocational training institutes (NVT1) as welders and oil rig workers, were said to have locked up their leader for more than two hours in a toilet at a hotel in Takoradi where they were lodging. The police said at the time of the arrest, the suspects were in a meeting planning to rally support across their bases in the country to attack their officers in Accra. According to the hotel manager (name withheld), the group had been in the hotel since Thursday, January 27, 2011 and they had booked rooms for a six-month period. He said there had been shouting from one of the rooms, which prompted one of the attendants at the place to go and find out what was going on, but the door was locked. "He banged on the door several times but those inside refused to open it. When the door was finally forced open, the occupants heckled the attendant and tore his shirt," the manager said. He said just last Sunday the group started agitating that their daily allowance was not enough and on Tuesday they began a hunger strike and refused to eat the food prepared for them. He said when he monitored the demeanour of the group, he decided to first report the matter to the police, who asked him to call the station in case of any violence. Asked if he had enquired about the calibre of people looking for accommodation before taking them in, he explained that officials from the NVTI in Accra had gone to the hotel to inspect the facilities and had informed the management that the group was made up of students from Nigeria on an exchange programme. "We were shocked when the people finally arrived and, through interactions, they said they were former militants from the Delta State of Nigeria who had been completely purged of any acts of violence," the manager said. When contacted, the Assistant Director of the NVTI, Mr John Okane, said the institute had an agreement with an organisation in Nigeria called Learning Resources Nigeria to train the former militants. He said, however, that Learning Resource was responsible for their accommodation and feeding.
Source: Daily Graphic