By Daniel Idonor
ABUJAâ€”THE Federal Governmentâ€™s Presidential Steering Committee on the Implementation of Amnesty for the Niger-Delta, chaired by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday rose from an emergency meeting with a marching order to all Ministries Departments and Agencies, MDAs, that are directly or indirectly connected to the programme to go back to work, and ensure that the provision of infrastructure continues flawlessly.
Acting Presidential Spokesman, Mr Ima Niboro, told State House Correspondents that â€œthe Acting President wants to assure Nigerians that the amnesty process is on course, it remains on course. It is a multi-pruned approach that we have adopted for the amnesty.
â€œTherefore, today, the Acting President has given a marching order to all agencies and bodies involved in the amnesty process to immediately go to work and ensure that whatever challenges that are holding up in these areas be surmounted immediately so that the process can move ahead flawlessly.
â€œOf course, we know that the area of infrastructure development may take a little bit more time, but he has also directed the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to fast-track all issues concerning infrastructure development programme of the region so that the perception that the amnesty programme is sleeping is corrected.â€
He disclosed that the decision is coming against the backdrop of complaints in some quarters that the Federal Government appears to be sleeping over the implementation of the Amnesty programme which has entered its critical stage, rehabilitation and provision of infrastructure; with very little on ground.
â€œWe just had an emergency meeting of the FG side of the amnesty committee. You know it is an enlarged committee that involves governors. So we just had an emergency meeting of the FG side. Next week we are going to have a full meeting with all the governors in attendance. The meeting was actually a reaction to words which are understandable in some quarters that the amnesty programme is failing,â€ he said.
According to him, â€œthere are actually four key levels to the amnesty. The first one being the disarmament, which has been done very successfully, the second step is demobilization; the camps have been virtually demobilized. We have achieved some 75% success.â€
Niboro who is the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Acting President added that â€œthe area where we are now is the area of rehabilitation of the militants; the rehabilitation and reorientation of the militants; and, of course, infrastructure. In the area of rehabilitation work is going on. Of course there are challenges here and there but the challenges are being surmounted.â€