ByÂ Olasunkanmi Akoni
The Action Congress (AC) has described the much-touted federal governmentâ€™s amnesty deal for Niger Delta militants as a PDP agenda aimed at giving the party a head start in the 2011 elections, instead of bringing peace to the restive oil region.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said: â€œThis amnesty deal, which was announced at a PDP function instead of a state function, is a charade.
The 50 billion naira allocated to it is nothing but a war chest for 2011 by the PDP. The guns being supposedly returned by militants may end up in the hands of PDP thugs in 2011.
The party said the clearest indication yet that the 60-day amnesty has failed is the fact that the Niger Deltaâ€™s main militant group, MEND, is not a part of it, and the fact that the key issues that precipitated the Niger Delta crisis – lack of infrastructure, massive youth unemployment and the degradation of the environment and resource control – have not been addressed.
â€œForget about criminal groups and armed robbers masquerading as militants, the greatest blow to our countryâ€™s oil production in the past three years or more have come from MEND.”
Therefore, any amnesty deal that fails to win the hearts and minds of MEND will fail,â€™â€™ AC said.
The party said the showbiz which the federal government is making out of the so-called returned weapons has further shown the lack of seriousness on the governmentâ€™s part, wondering who are those returning guns when the core militants are still out there in the creeks..â€