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Niger Delta Stakeholders Demand Appointment

By Oyonsongo Udoyo, Yenagoa

Stakeholders from the nine states of the Niger Delta region have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a substantive coordinator for the Presidential Amnesty Programme.


According to the stakeholders, they prefer a substantive coordinator now than the five-man probe panel set up for the agency.


The stakeholders made up of groups under the aegis of the Niger Delta Restoration Alliance (NDRA), urged President Buhari to match the promises made during the June 12 National Broadcast on the sustenance of the existing peace and stability with the appointment of a substantive coordinator to improve and fulfil the dream of the present administration in the region.


The spokesperson of the National Coordinator of the Niger Delta Restoration Alliance (NDRA), Dr. Biewari James Apulu, said the delayed appointment of a coordinator for the Presidential Amnesty Programme is noticeably evident in the tension and restlessness along the creeks and rivers in the region.


According to the NDRA, “President Muhammadu Buhari should immediately replace the five-man investigative committee set up by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Mohammed Monguno (rtd.), with the appointment of a substantive coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).”


The group noted that the appointment of a substantive coordinator will ensure the immediate commencement of the delayed vocational training for real beneficiaries of the amnesty programme in preparation for emerging job opportunities.


“The substantive coordinator will immediately commence the empowerment programmes for real beneficiaries to become self-employed entrepreneurs and save many beneficiaries from the looming recession occasioned by the ongoing COVID-19 and drop in crude oil price.”


Dr. Biewari James Apulu, the spokesman of the group, commended President Buhari over the amnesty programme, which he said has successfully maintained the peace and stability in the Niger Delta region.


“We are aware that the Nigeria’s annual budget is over N10 trillion and its total debts are over $80 billion USD and Nigeria is relying on the peace and stability in the Niger Delta region to increase crude oil and gas production to pay back these huge debts and continue to service its annual budgets and to develop other regions across the country.”


He said the amnesty programme should be encouraged and sustained instead of having discussions of its termination at the end of the year,” President Buhari should personally appoint a substantive amnesty coordinator from amongst the founding fathers of the programme forits efficient operation to avoid political interference, fraud and corruption.”


“The leaders of the amnesty programme understand the programme better than the politicians and academicians that are looking to pacify outsiders. They are the leaders that signed the peace agreement with the Federal Government. This will enable the real amnesty beneficiaries to be trained and empowered.”

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