Ending amnesty programme may return militancy – N’Delta group

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The Ijaw National Congress on Monday said any attempt to end the Presidential Amnesty Programme may lead to a resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta region of the country.

The group stressed that the PAP had, over the years, successfully tamed the activities of ex-agitators also known as Militants after they had surrendered their arms in 2009.

Speaking in an interview with The PUNCH, the INC, National Publicity Secretary, Ezonebi Oyakemeagbegha, said that authorities should desist from any activities that could revive unrest in the area.

He said, “if they have such plans, it’s not in the best interest of the Niger Delta people because that particular agency was established for particular purpose, to address youth restiveness, to calm the situation down with former agitators and now they have dropped their arms.

“And of course, again, it’s an ongoing  programme. Some people are still undergoing training so if somebody is planning to end it in eight months, what about the people that are still in training, how do you handle such people. So if somebody is thinking in that particular direction, I advise the person that it’s not the best of choice. It will cause restiveness in our areas again.

“The amnesty programme has actually helped in reducing criminality in our area. The programme that is ongoing has helped to calm the situation. It has helped in reducing criminality in the area. So, thinking of bringing such to an end is not in the best interest of the Niger delta.

Meanwhile, in a statement made available to our correspondent on Monday, Oyakemeagbegha said the programme “brought sustainable peace in the Niger Delta and development in the country following uninterrupted oil exploration and exploitation in the region.

While applauding the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari(retd.), for the appointment of Maj-Gen Barry Ndiomu (retd) as the Interim Administrator of the PAP, the group urged the FG to strengthen and widen the reach of the programme.

“The INC commends President Muhammadu Buhari for this appointment and expresses confidence in the capacity of the appointee to deliver on the mandate of the programme.

“The INC urges Gen. Ndiomu to strive to handle the huge responsibility placed on his shoulders with utmost diligence to take the Amnesty Programme to the next level.

“The INC wishes to use this medium to caution the Federal Government against the rumoured plan to scrap the Presidential Amnesty Programme, as it would amount to attempting to go back to the days of militancy in the Niger Delta region,” he said.


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