- Boroh wants vandalism stopped
By Ndubuisi Francis
As attacks on oil and gas pipelines in the Niger Delta intensify, a former spokesman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Mr. Daniel Alabrah, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to look beyond the region for solution to the renewed violence by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
Alabrah said as a journalist who extensively reported the era of militancy in the region before becoming one of the managers of the Amnesty Programme, it was necessary to lend a voice as a patriotic duty to the country.
Alabrah, who stated this in a statement yesterday, also urged the president to be wary of those he described as fifth columnist politicians within and outside the region whose aim is to cause further tension in the Niger Delta.
“Genuine stakeholders should no longer remain aloof at a time like this. It is akin to Emperor Nero fiddling while Rome is on fire.
“What is happening in the Niger Delta at the moment is not militancy. Militancy is no longer attractive in the region due to the role of the Amnesty Programme in engendering peace and stabilising of security. If it is militancy, where are the camps?
“The wrong identification of the problem has led to a wrong prognosis. The government has equally responded wrongly. Applying force alone cannot be the solution even if you deployed all the soldiers in the military. It should learn from the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s experience and how his masterstroke ended militancy in the region.
“The attack on pipelines and oil installations is pure criminality and sabotage. But it requires intelligence gathering to effectively tackle it. Forces beyond and outside the region appear to be behind the current wave of sabotage of oil facilities. The government and the security agencies need to look deeper and cast their intelligence net wider to unravel the masterminds of these nefarious acts,” he said.
He urged Buhari to be wary of politicians capitalising on the current situation to set the Niger Delta on fire, adding: “Various concerned elders and leaders of the region have spoken the minds of the Niger Delta people. We do not want further militarisation of the region. Some persons are benefiting from this crisis and there appears to be external collaboration.
“With a structure like the Amnesty Programme in place, the government can resolve this crisis without firing a bullet or wasting innocent lives. I believe the Coordinator of the programme, Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), can apply his vast conflict resolution skills to effectively resolve this situation. He needs the support of both the government and stakeholders in the region. As a security stabilizing programme, Boroh has executed his mandate well so far,” he added
He, however, warned that if the government continues to starve the programme and beneficiaries of funds, it could be creating room for deeper crisis in the region.
“Beneficiaries in the programme are currently groaning due to non-payment of their stipends for months. The slashing of the budget of the programme drastically is also a bad signal. Politicians are beginning to exploit the yawning funding gap to lure beneficiaries into acts that are inimical to the economy of the region and the country at large,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (rtd) has described the programme as a huge success,
But he added that vandalism in the Region must be checked.
Presenting the score card of the programmme in Abuja, he said it was in the collective interest of the Niger Delta people to put a stop to the renewed attacks on oil installations.
He added that he was encouraged that the overwhelming majority of the people, including stakeholders, youths, elders and leaders in the region had pledged themselves to peace.
According to him, under the Amnesty Programme, apart from 30,000 youths being paid monthly stipends, 2,152 Niger Delta youths have been given full scholarship to study in 32 higher institutions abroad across five continents including Europe, United States, Asia and the Caribbean.
Boroh said 2,723 youths from the Region have been given full scholarship to study in 32 Nigerian universities while 76 of them graduated from Novena University this year, a total of 728 beneficiaries are in their final year and are expected to graduate this session.