Chairman, Federal Government Amnesty Programme, Hon. Kingsley Kuku,
By Ndubuisi Francis
P residential Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs and Chairman of the Federal Government Amnesty Programme, Hon. Kingsley Kuku, has admonished former leaders of the ex-militant groups in the Niger Delta to sustain the prevailing peace, which they helped to enthrone in the region, assuring that the selfless sacrifice of laying down their arms would not go unrewarded.
He urged them to sustain the peace already attained in the Niger Delta, which would not only lead to the region’s social and economic progression but that of the country as a whole.
Kuku, who spoke in Abuja yesterday, while receiving an award from leaders of ex-militant agitators for successfully driving the Amnesty Programme, noted that the voluntary laying down of their arms in September 2009 had raised Nigeria’s oil output from a low of about 700,000 barrels per day during the peak of the agitation to the current over 2.6 million barrels per day.
He stated that due to the increased production resulting from peace occasioned by the Amnesty Programme, Nigeria now earned a daily revenue of N3.4 billion from oil, which amounted to over N6 trillion annually.
He added that the welfare of the ex-militant leaders who were the driving force of the laying down of arms by the former agitators had not been given due attention.
Kuku, who assured them of an unflinching commitment to bring the issue of their welfare before President Goodluck Jonathan, said while the followers of the ex-militant leaders were already benefitting in the human capacity development programmes of the Amnesty scheme in various parts of the world, the former had not benefitted.
According to him, the criticisms in some quarters that so much was being expended on the Amnesty Programme were unfair, adding that every right-thinking Nigerian knew that what the country is expending to train is paltry vis-à-vis the revenue boost occasioned by the prevailing peace in region.
“Nigerians must appreciate that you people have been supporting the cause of peace for nothing. I want to assure you that your welfare will be taken up and discussed with the President. You are instruments of peace,” he said, adding that the ex-militant leaders had been risking their lives monitoring and reporting any form of security breach and threat to peace in the region to security agencies.
Kuku admonished them not to allow their peaceful disposition be dampened such that they would waver in their security surveillance in the area thereby creating room for some ant-social elements in the region to breach the peace.
He noted that although they no longer carry arms, they must be proactive at all times and partner with security agencies to nip any attempt to foment trouble or burst oil pipelines in the bud.
Kuku warned that serious sanctions would be visited on any former militant agitator found to be engineering any form of crisis or violence in the region with a view to seeking a third or fourth phase of the Amnesty Programme.