Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa
A group of ex-militant leaders under the aegis of Niger Delta Ex-Agitators Forum (NDEF) has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for rescinding the decision to wind down the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) in the region.
They also expressed gratitude to the federal government for listening to various critical stakeholders across the region who were strongly opposed to the plan to wind down the PAP.
The group in a statement signed in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, by Edward Youdiowei, Patrick Tebegba and the National Public Relations Officer, Ayabowei Godgift, also commended the duo of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj-Gen. Mohammed Babagana Monguno (rtd), and the Interim Administrator of the PAP, Major General Barry Tariye Ndiomu (rtd), for the renewed efforts at reviewing and applying practical reforms in the amnesty programme.
According to the group, despite the dissenting voices against the ongoing reforms in the programme, “we commend Ndiomu for his approach to sustain the programme with new vigor and initiatives set out to recalibrate it into a more robust and efficient agency.”
They noted that under Ndiomu leadership as the interim administrator of PAP, a cooperative scheme with a seed fund of N500 million to various phases of the beneficiaries has been introduced, and urged beneficiaries to sheath their swords of incessant agitations against the coordinator of the amnesty programme which can further derail its course.
The group said: “As the critical stakeholders in the Amnesty programme, we call on all concerned Niger Deltans to sustain the peace in the region and help the new administration to reform, refocus and reposition the programme for optimum performance.
“We urge the people of Niger Delta region and beneficiaries to desist from frequent media attack and blackmail on the image of the coordinator of the programme and channel their complaints to the appropriate quarters such as the Bayelsa State liaison office headed by Dame Esther Boroh, who is available to receive all complaints.”
On the verification exercise and clearing of a backlog of unpaid stipends and scholarships to 1,714 ex-militants, the group enjoined Ndiomu to work with various leaders and stakeholders for a smooth and rancor-free exercise.