March 4, 2021

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Panic In Niger Delta Over Alleged Plan To End Amnesty Programme

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Edith CHUKU

There have been growing concerns in the Niger Delta region, over speculations that the committee set up by the federal government on the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), has recommended that the programme should wind up at the end of this year.

According to a Niger Delta youth leader, the alleged plot to bring the programme to a halt this year was leaked.

Expressing their discontent on the supposed leaked intelligent report, Izon Ebi said “the 21st century youths of the Niger Delta and agitators with conscience (21st CYNDAC) receive with shock and disbelief the leaked intelligence report by the committee set up by the federal government on the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) recommending the end of the programme in 2020.

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“This is so unfortunate and unbelievable, taking into cognizance the effort put in by patriotic and honest leaders like the late president, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to persuade Niger Deltans with the amnesty programme for a honest and holistic approach to the myriad of problems that led the youths to take up arms against the federal government.

“Terminating the amnesty programme now without the federal government fulfilling its own part is very risky and has its own consequences. For us, we view it as another decoy to plunge the Niger Delta into another round of crisis again since the merchants of violence are no longer profiting in their venture since there is fragile peace in the Niger Delta.”

Describing the amnesty programme as a well conceived developmental programme by the then government of Yar’Adua, Izon noted that out of the three segments of the program, only the first segment which is the disarmament has been successfully completed.

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According to him, “the programme was phased into three segments which are disarmament, demobilization and reintegration for the first segment, rehabilitation for the second segment, and strategic implementation work plan SIWP for the third segment.

“The first segment has successfully been carried out. However, we are still in the second segment which is the rehabilitation process. Engaging the youths in vocational training or sending people to school as well as the empowerment program are all part of the rehabilitation process. There is no time limit as to when the program will be terminated especially when all the segments have not been executed.

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“The third phase has not been attended to which is strictly the massive development of the region. Therefore, the 21st century youths of the Niger Delta and agitators with conscience (21st CYNDAC) through this medium lend our voice to the current permanent inactivity in the amnesty program for ex militants.

“This lull in the amnesty program does not in any way augur well for the fragile peace in the Niger Delta. This program has been beneficial to the indigenes of the region as it has facilitated the training and education of youths from the region through pulling them out of the creeks and channelling their lives to meaningful endeavour thus, the seeming abandonment of the program and the leaked intelligence report recommended by the committee for the end of the program this year 2020 should be of grave concern to well-meaning citizens of the region and the country at large.

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