Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Prof. Charles Dokubo, has urged leaders of Niger Delta ex-agitators in phase three of the programme to put their house in order and present their complaints officially in an organised manner, rather than resorting to travelling in large numbers to the Amnesty Office in Abuja uninvited and thereafter make unrealistic monetary demands for logistics.
Dokubo also disclosed that plans were underway for leaders of the ex-agitators to be enrolled at a leadership training within the country or outside, for effective coordination of their followers.
Speaking in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, at a meeting with 170 leaders of ex-agitators enlisted in phase three of the programme, he urged them to set aside violence and work in harmony to deepen peace in the region towards enhancing development.
Dokubo, in a statement by his media aide, Murphy Ganagana, said: “Please, any issue that you want to talk about, delegate two or three persons to come and meet me. Any day they come, I will open my doors for them. But if you come without my notice and you expect me to pay your transport, no government in this world can do that.
“We must be realistic. You might not like it, but that is the way things are done. I want you to understand the due process stance of the present administration. What I am saying is that we must do things the right way.”
Dokubo noted that leadership training for leaders of the ex-agitators was necessary to equip them with knowledge and skills on how to manage their followers and possibly empower them to undertake entrepreneurship initiatives that would positively impact on the Niger Delta.
“I have thought about leadership training and there was a time they sent people to South Africa. I told the Phase Two leaders I met in Uyo that we will design a programme for leadership training. If you don’t have training, how can you lead your people? It is not about stipends, it is how you can acquire knowledge. This knowledge will not be confined to Amnesty, you can also get somewhere. So training is very essential.
“I will create a programme where leaders will attend accordingly. I will get a list of all the leaders so that we can send them for training in batches. We can’t send all at the same time. It is for your own strength and leadership,” he said.
The Amnesty boss expressed dismay at the confrontational approach and protests by ex-agitators in seeking attention to some issues, rather than availing themselves of the official platforms in channelling complaints, emphasising his vision and objective.
Assuring of prompt payment of monthly stipends and other entitlements to PAP beneficiaries, Dokubo said he had no hand in cases of alleged missing slots or exclusion of beneficiaries from the programme, but had diligently made payments based on available official records since his assumption of office.
“The government can only look at what they have and what they can spend. Even you, if you have N30,000 in your pocket, you can only spend out of what you have. Anything that is lawful, I, Charles Dokubo, will do it.
“Anything that is part of this programme, I will not remove it. I will carry it out thoroughly. For me, the most important thing is the maintenance of peace in our area,” he declared.
Speaking on behalf of participants at the meeting, National Secretary of the Forum of Phase Three Leaders of Ex-Niger Delta Agitators, Mr. Tam Odogwu, expressed optimism that the interactive sessions with critical stakeholders in Niger Delta initiated by Dokubo would deepen peace in the region.