By Jimito Onoyume
PORT HARCOURTâ€”FOR lasting peace to be achieved in the Niger Delta, the Federal Government has been urged to see immediate commencement of rehabilitation and reintegration programme for repentant militants as a priority.
Making the appeal in Port Harcourt, a former Commander of Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, MEND, Sobomabo Jackreec, alias Egberipapa, said he was worried that repentant militants were abandoning rehabilitation camps set up for them because no training and reintegration programme had commenced in any of the camps.
To confirm what he said, Vanguard visited the Allu rehabilitation camp in Choba, where a few of the ex-militants still hanging around, said others only come on days allowances were to be paid by government.
The repentant militant leader enjoined the government to take steps to consolidate on the peace brought about by the amnesty, adding that it was not proper that several months after the Federal Government announced ten percent equity to oil communities in the Niger Delta, nothing had been done to implement it.
He said government should realize that the root cause of the crisis and tension witnessed in the region was largely caused by the degree of poverty and deprivation in the region.
Jackreec said the government should, therefore, be seen to be taking concrete steps towards tackling these challenges
â€œIt is not right that months after the president promised ten percent equity to oil communities in the region, nothing has been done till date. These are some of the issues causing problems in the area.
â€œGovernment should be seen to be taking steps to address the problems of poverty and underdevelopment in the Niger Delta,â€ he said
Hailing the decision of the National Assembly to make Goodluck Jonathan Acting President, the ex-militant leader also called on the federal government to release funds owed the Niger Delta Development Commission, so the commission could effectively discharge its responsibility to the region.
JackreecÂ traced some of the tension in the region and the nation at large to the problem of corruption and electoral malpractices.
He advised the federal government not to soft-pedal in its anti-graft war and also implement the Uwais recommendations on electoral reform.
He said the foregoing would help a lot in producing credible leaders for the region and the nation at large.
â€œWe need a strong electoral system to produce credible leaders in the country. Corrupt leaders have also been responsible for some of the problems and tensions. The federal government should endeavor to implement the electoral reform for the nation to have a credible election next year,â€ he said.
The ex-militant leader also called on the acting president to ensure he surrounded himself with patriotic Nigerians, those that would be ready to work for the interest of the nation and not to promote selfish interest and agenda.
He said:Â â€œThe acting president has a golden opportunity to simply be just by standing for what is right and leaving a golden legacy. Nigeria needs a functional system.â€