Akeredolu Seeks Inclusion of More Beneficiaries in Amnesty Programme

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Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

Ondo State Governor, Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), at the weekend, commended the performance of the Presidential Amnesty Programme under the leadership of Prof. Charles Dokubo, expressing confidence on a deep-rooted commitment to the development of the Niger Delta.

He also advocated the inclusion of more persons into the interventionist programme.

Akeredolu, who spoke in Abuja when he paid a courtesy visit to Dokubo in his office, said he has demonstrated a clear commitment to the objectives of the programme within a short period in the saddle as the coordinator.

In a statement issued yesterday by Dokubo’s Special Assistant (Media), Mr. Murphy Ganagana, the Ondo State governor said: “Well, it is not the first time I have met him. Prof. Dokubo is someone from Niger Delta and he is committed to this programme (Amnesty). That, he has shown today.

“He has a personal commitment to everything that has to do with Niger Delta because he is one of them. So, I see that in him, and he has shown it.”

The governor, however, urged the federal government to continuously assess and review participation in the Amnesty Programme to provide a window of opportunity for more youths in the Niger Delta to be included in
the interventionist programme.

He noted that the expansion of the scope of the Amnesty Programme to accommodate more persons would take away a lot of unrest in the region.

Akeredolu had visited Dokubo to solicit for the inclusion into the Programme, some youths in Ondo State who had been disarmed and granted amnesty by the state government.

“We are here to discuss matters that have to do with amnesty as they affect our people in Ondo State. The meeting went well and we are going to work on our decisions.

“I think a few things have been done by him (Dokubo), and from my discussion with him, there must be continuous assessment of this programme, at least, to be sure that people do not take advantage of it.

“If you have had opportunity to be trained or you have gone to school, then use the benefit for yourself; don’t deny others the opportunity to come into the scheme,” he said.

In his remarks, Dokubo, who expressed gratitude to Akeredolu for the visit, explained that inclusion of more persons into the programme was an exclusive preserve of the president.

 He said unless there was a presidential proclamation to accommodate more persons into the Programme alongside a budgetary expansion, he lacked the powers to take such decision.

Dokubo, however expressed the willingness of the Amnesty Programme to train Niger Delta youths who are not beneficiaries of the programme at the world-class training facilities which he completed and activated, if state governments in the region were ready to pay monthly stipends of their delegates.

“But if we have to involve non beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme in our trainings without payment of stipends, I will not be happy or willing to do so because that will be discriminatory. I can assist you with the training, but that means they will have to receive stipends from Ondo State government,” he noted.