Hon. Kingsley Kuku
By Ndubuisi Francis andKunleAkogun in Abuja
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Hon. Kingsley Kuku has solicited the support of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta to prevail on President Goodluck Jonathan for the inclusion of some ex-militants who have been pressing to be part of the programme.
Kuku said only Jonathan has the power to authorise the opening of a third phase of the programme, and urged the Senate committee to help in prevailing on the president to accommodate a few more ex-militants, kicking to be part of the programme after surrendering their arms to the Joint Task Force (JTF).
The presidential aide, who spoke in Abuja when the committee led by its Chairman, Senator James Manager visited his Office as part of its oversight function, said sustaining the relative peace in the Niger Delta was to the eternal benefit of all Nigerians and that no sacrifice would be too much in ensuring that.
Kuku said he was already making a case before the president for a ‘slight opening’ to include a few more ex-agitators, who genuinely submitted their arms even before the October 4, 2009 deadline set by the Federal Government and urged the committee to lend its support in that direction.
While praising the foresight of late president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in proclaiming amnesty for the ex- agitators, in spite of strong opposition from some quarters at the time, he observed that the programme had recorded chains of successes as the ex-agitators are scattered in about 20 countries of the world undergoing one vocational training or the other as well as formal education in some of the best educational institutions in Europe, the Americas and Asia.