Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Prof. Charles Dokubo, has stated that the federal government views the Presidential Amnesty Programme as a necessary and veritable tool to transform the hitherto restive oil-rich region.
This, he noted, informed President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to actualising the objectives of the programme.
Dokubo, who is also Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, spoke in Abuja at a commemorative rally to mark the struggle for the emancipation of the Niger Delta spearheaded by the late Isaac Boro.
The Boro Day is an annual event organised by the Ijaws in all states of the South-south and Abuja.
Describing Boro as the first person to see the Niger Delta as a viable region, Dokubo noted that the Amnesty Programme is a direct reflection of his desires for the Niger Delta people.
“We are here today because of a journey he started some years ago. What we do here is to symbolize the aspiration and the ambition of Boro. Amnesty is a direct reflection of his desires for the Niger Delta people,” Dokubo said in a statement issued by his Special Assistant (Media), Murphy Ganagana.
He noted that the federal government under the late President Yar’Adua took up the issue of Amnesty not because it was a difficult task, but because it was a necessary task, adding that this was why the present government “is so committed to the Amnesty Programme.”
“I have been around for just a year plus, and I have seen the desire of this government to make sure Amnesty survives and that the people of Niger Delta should benefit immensely from the programme that we run at the Amnesty Office.
“It’s like some of us don’t even know the avenues that are open to us. If we can explore, exploit and make use of the available opportunities, Niger Delta will be a different,” he said.
He assured that Buhari was determined to uplift the region, explaining some of his strategies to optimise the impact of the Amnesty Programme.
“After assuming office, I tried to open the doors of my office to every Niger Delta person; I did that because I know it is necessary and also because I realized that we need equality of all Niger Delta people.
“There is no Niger Delta person that has come to my office and had gone back displeased.
“What I want to do is to de-emphasise dependence on N65, 000 monthly stipends by beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme, so that Niger Delta people can work, earn and also enjoy themselves.
“ If you earn what you are entitled to have, there will be a trickle effect; you have to pay your children’s school fees, you have to pay your rent, you have to take care of your family and do all the things that are required of a family man,” he stated.
The highpoint of the event which was held at the Jabi Waterfront in Abuja, was the conferment of an Award of Excellence on Dokubo by the Ijaw community resident in the FCT for his sterling performance and achievements barely one year in office.