By Olaoluwakitan Babatunde
A Leading Niger Delta Development advocate Professor Jasper Jumbo has made recommendations on amendment of some sections of the Presidential Amnesty in the Niger Delta Act now before the National Assembly.
Jumbo, also the traditional head of the 20 Jumbo Major House Committees/Fishing House in Bonny L.G.A of Rivers State (landlords to Shell and NLNG) commended Oluwale Oke for sponsoring the bill.
He also thanked the Chairman and members of the House Committee on Niger Delta Affairs for taking pains to look into critical aspects of the development of the Niger Delta. He observed that schedule 1 section 3 dealing with list of frontline states conspicuously omitted Abia State and that the oversight should be corrected.
He also observed that the NDDC, CBN Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture, the local content office and more directly with NAPIMS – NNPC which control the joint venture operation of the oil and Gas Industry should be specifically involved in the Legislation.
He recommended that the duration of programme for graduates of the Amnesty Program ought to be for a period of five years, subject to extension by the President for a further five years by an order published in the Gazette.
He further observed that the committee appeared not to have given enough funds to make any meaningful impact on the environment remediation, locational reconstruction, infrastructural development – inducement components of its mandate.
In addition he recommended that instead of approving the allocation of 5% of the Ecological Fund meant for the Federal Government to the Presidential Amnesty Programme, 10% of the Fund should be deducted at source and made directly payable to the Amnesty Program in view of the security situation posed by the Militants in the Niger Delta area.
It is his view that the National Security Adviser should be compelled to periodically grant the programme seed capital or Buffer fund from the Nation’s Security vote and also average soft loans for the programme graduates / beneficiaries in addition to standing surety for graduates and beneficiaries of the programme to access national privileges open to Nigerians from the IMF, ADB, CBN, National Planning Ministry etc through guided technical co-operatives.