A group, Niger Delta PeaceMandate, has commended President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua over the amnesty that was recently granted to militants in the Niger Delta . It also offered a recipe to the regionâ€™s crisis.
In a statement, the President, Prince Alex Anugor, described the amnesty initiative as a welcome development, and urged Yarâ€™Adua to implement post amnesty programmes.
According to him, the Federal Government should develop the region so that the repentant militants won’t return to militancy.
Prince Anugor urged government to embark on massive infrastructural develpoment of the region, stressing that since the region’s problems were associated with effects of oil and exploration ranging from environmental degradation, loss of farmland and marine life are solely borne by the rural dwellers in the oil-rich region, basic amenities should be provided for them.
Anugor commends President’s effort at extending amnesty to Niger Delta militants, as the first point to achieve lasting peace in the region.
He saidÂ â€œYarâ€™Adua should know that the next step should be a post-amnesty programme and massive development of the region. GovernmentÂ must rise to the challenge of providing the needed infrastructure in meeting the yearnings of our people for a better life.
The regionâ€™s inability to meet the real needs of the people, the frustration arising from the insensitivity of the government at Federal level as to their real predicament may be following a similar pattern that urgently needs to be reversed.
Prince Anugor further said the need for adequate compensation to meet the environmental challenge of developing the region should be seriously considered, noting that Niger Delta is the only region that defines wealth and poverty simultaneously.
â€œFor equity to reign in Nigeria, the Federal Government should give up some of its powers to the federating units.
He lamented that the 1999 constitution; the Land Use Act; the Oil Mineral Acts, among other, exist to prevent dialogue among the various people of Nigeria.
â€œThe 1999 Constitution should be amended to remove oil and gas matters from the Exclusive Legislative List and placed on the Concurrent Legislative List. This will enhance improved relations between oil and gas companies and their oil-bearing host communities, which are largely manipulated and short-changed/ he surmised