By Abdulwahab Abdulah
Youths from Ndokwa area ofÂ Delta State, under the auspice of Ndokwa Youths Congress (NYC), have said granting amnesty to Niger Delta militants will not solve the problems confronting the region if the Federal Government fails to provide amenities that would improve the lives of the people of the area.
The group also condemned the recent approval of N19 billion by the Federal Government to establish a Petroleum Training Institute in Kaduna where there is no oil, describing it as a slap on the face of the people of the Niger Delta.
In a statement signed by Messrs Chimennma Okolo and Jerry Ogwu, National President and General Secretary,Â Ndokwa Youth Congress, respectively, the group said efforts by the government to grant amnesty to the Niger Delta militants was a diversionary tactics to shield the government from carrying out its responsibility to the people of the area.
It said, â€œWhile the Ndokwa Youth Congress (NYC) is not averse to any genuine attempts by the Federal Government and indeed all well meaning Nigerians to find amicable and lasting solution to the current armed struggle ravaging the Niger Delta, it will not only be naive but foolhardy to believe that an offer of amnesty will solve the Niger Delta crisis.
â€œThe current struggle was not to demand for amnesty but rather to seek a reversal of the deliberate developmental emasculation of the entire Niger Delta. What the youths of the Niger-Delta are asking for is that the government take responsibility for the welfare of the people whose wealth is sustaining the nation.â€
â€œWhat we are asking for is for deliberate and conscious effort to be made towards the development of the entire Niger Delta, anything short of this is chasing shadows.Â The offer of amnesty is, therefore, in our estimation no more than diversionary.
â€œIt is putting the cart before the horse. We believe that the government ought to start developing the region, this way the government will win the confidence of the youths and people of the Niger Delta. Any peace without Justice will not last.â€
On the petroleum training institute, the youths saidÂ â€œWe wonder at the wisdom of the federal government expending N19 billion to cite a Petroleum Training Institute in Kaduna State where there is no single drop of oil whereas the existing one in Warri remains in tatters as a result of the deliberate starvation of funds.
â€œThe said funds, if plowed into the existing one, will go a long way in making it a first class University of Petroleum Resources.â€