Niger Delta leaders have urged the Federal Government to adequately fund and sustain the Presidential Amnesty Programme to maintain peace and fast-track development in the region.
While reviewing the impact of the interventionist programme since its creation in 2009, leaders of the hitherto restive region said it has helped to stabilise the security situation, increased crude oil production output and boosted the nation’s revenue.
This is just as they commended Prof. Charles Dokubo, Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme, for his demonstration of passion and commitment towards achieving the objectives for which it was created.
Rights activist and respected Ijaw leader, Elder Timi Kaiser-Wilhelm Ogoriba, said the Federal Government should sustain the Amnesty Programme in view of its immense benefits to the people of Niger Delta and the nation’s economy.
Ogoriba said: “This programme has to stay. It has to stay because if as at yesterday your oil production quota was low, and because of the programme, it has become high, then you have to maintain the momentum. Thank God the people that are running the Programme are in tune with the ideas that formed the bedrock of the formation of the Programme.
“Prof. Charles Dokubo who has taken over from past coordinators and leaders is continuing the programme the way we want it; we have to be thankful to him. Some persons could have come and derail it. But there is no derailment. And because of the fact that the Programme is old enough, 10 years now, we have to be seen as improving upon it regularly, including its funding.”
In the same vein, another Niger Delta leader, Chief Anavs Sara-Igbe, expressed joy that the efforts of the initiators of the Amnesty Programme has yielded results and the hope of the Niger Delta people for a better tomorrow has been rekindled.
Sara-Igbe said: “We are beginning to see the impacts of the Programme in the region. For that reason, we need to thank President Muhammadu Buhari who in his magnanimity, found it very necessary to continue with the Programme. We thank all those who have been supportive to this Programme from beginning to this time.
“Particularly, we thank Prof. Charles Dokubo for his giant strides in uplifting the people of Niger Delta through training and empowerment. I think it is a very good thing that the government must continue. We are appealing to the government to continue this programme. This Programme is not only good for the Niger Delta people; it is also very good for the Nigerian economy.
“With this Programme, the economy is stable, and the Federal Government is generating more money.”
Also speaking, frontline Niger Delta activist, Chief James Evah, said leaders of the region were happy to see their sons and daughters being trained and empowered.
Evah called for expansion of the Amnesty Programme to accommodate more persons.
He said: “We want all unemployed youth in the Niger Delta to be part of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, and it is possible. President Muhammadu Buhari is in love with this Programme; he should inject more funds into it. Amnesty is giving its best to our people, and we want adequate funding. If that is done, the sky will not even be the limit of the Programme; it will be the beginning.”