Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
A former Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) and Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), has called for a multi-stakeholder collaboration to sustain the prevailing peace in the region.
Boroh argued that ensuring sustained peace was the recipe for development, and canvassed the collaboration of the executive, National Assembly, the strategic ministries, departments and agencies of government, development partners, ex-agitators, elders of the region, youths and the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) for the promotion of peace.
In an interview, Boroh said: “No one can say he will singlehandedly bring about the peace that is needed. It should be a team work. That is why we must all plant the seed of hope. We must nurture the seed of peace. Together itâ€™s possible.
â€œThe new leadership of the programme knows what to do to continue from where we stopped. Prof. Charles Dokubo is a capable hand. One thing I must add here is that every coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, at one point or the other, had done their best. I say this because of the peculiar nature of the region and the programme. No two coordinators will operate the same way; the most important thing is the return of peace in the region and the re-integration of ex agitators back into the society.
â€œHow you do this is the issue. Every other thing we all did in the office had to do with the â€˜howâ€™ which varies with individuals. Those before me did it in their own way, I did my best the way I could do it and those after me will also do their bit. All we want is peace and development for the region. I will also advise the beneficiaries to use their skills to bring about meaningful development to the region. They were trained to impact others. Those that learnt one skill, trade or craft should use it for the advancement of the region.â€
On what he would consider as one of his major achievements in office, Boroh alluded to the relative peace in the Niger Delta, insisting that ensuring sustained peace in the region is a recipe for development, and was his preoccupation while in office.
Boroh recalled that his peace overtures were fruitful, noting: â€œI also felt victorious when I succeeded in convincing beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme not to go into the creeks to vandalise pipelines; that brought a lot of stability to us as a country because of the role crude oil plays in the revenue base of the country.
He expressed gratitude to God and President Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity â€œto contribute my quota to the development of the Niger-Delta regionâ€.
â€œI am satisfied that I have served my fatherland to the best of my ability during my tenure as the Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
â€œPeace building is a collective responsibility, it is not what one person can do, all hands must be on deck to make sure that peace returns to the region in order for development to take place. As it is today, I am a very happy person. Most of the plans I had for the region were carried out under my watch, though there were some hitches which one cannot rule out, but in all, I will say we did our best as a team,â€ he said.
On allegations of corruption against him, Boroh argued that anyone heading an intervention programme like PAP was bound â€œto meet with the bad, the good and the ugly,â€ adding that â€œnot everyone was happy about our modest achievements in office.â€
According to him, a few days before he left office, he had echoed the fact that â€œthe Presidential Amnesty Programme was not a political programme where you share money to peopleâ€.
â€œYou know the president’s stance on corruption and this did not go down well with so many people who felt they were entitled to the resources meant for the rehabilitation of ex-agitators. So those protesters you saw are the handiworks of our detractors. I was appointed to deliver and that was what I did during my time as coordinator of PAP,â€ he stressed.