‘Why Niger Delta Stakeholders Reject Planned Scrapping of Amnesty Programme’

Olusegun Samuel

Ijaw elders under the aegis of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) have offered reasons for Niger Delta stakeholders’ rejection of the federal government’ plan to scrap the Presidential Amnesty Programme(PAP), declaring that the scrapping of the programme will trigger a time bomb waiting to explode in the region.

According to the Ijaw elders, the 13 years of the wrongful and military styled implementation of the PAP without the promised pillars of disarmament, rehabilitation and re-integration has made the proposed scrapping a time bomb that may explode and destroy the fragile peace in the region.

The Second Vice President of the INC, Alabo Nengi James made this known in Warri,Delta state during the Niger Delta Economic Discourse series organized by the Gbaramatu Voice Newspapers with the theme “The Presidential Amnesty Program: The Challenges from 2009_2022 and the Way Forward”.

According to Alabo Nengi James,” the  PAP, which was hurriedly put in place without has been executed with militarisation rather than civilization. The programme was poorly handled by the military elements which lacked the capacity for mediation with stakeholders. Regrettably, the PAP proclamation did not factor in mediation and conflict transformation. The poor implementation has made the programme a time bomb that may explode if the programme is terminated chaotically.”

He pointed out that the aim of such programme and the processes that may terminate it must be made to undergo conflict transformation with change in the various parties involved and their relationships, “the Niger Delta politicians, the federal government, activists and beneficiaries of the programme should be guided by the provisions of the Kaima declaration of December,1998 and focus on the fundamentals of the struggle and inherited from our revolutionary ancestry. The fundamental of the struggle are resource control and ownership. The Amnesty programe offers the stakeholders the opportunity to re-strategise and re-negotiate with the federal government from the position of strength.”

He also warned that in event of mandatory shut down of the PAP, FG must consider the fact that the Amnesty beneficiaries have demonstrated goodwill by disarming and embracing the programme for the sustainable development of the region,” their interest should be protected before winding down the program. A negotiation team should be constituted to negotiate with the Federal Government on how to best implement the marshal plan for the rapid development of the region.”

“All Amnesty beneficiaries should be gainfully employed or empowered, before the program is allowed to wind up. That the Amnesty program has become a cesspool of corruption for revenue leakages should be blocked for efficient management of the programe. That the rehabilitation and re-integration phases of the programe should be approached with utmost seriousness and professionalism.”

“That a high powered delegation should be sent to the President for the purpose of implementing the core recommendations of the Ledium Mitee Presidential Technical Committee on the Niger Delta. That the process of the upward review of the derivation formula enshrined in section 162(2) of the 1999 constitution, as amended, be pursued through bipartisan approach from the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

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