June 23, 2009

Amnesty: UNDEDSS tasks FG on sincerity

The United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy (UNDEDSS) has said unless Federal Government’s proposed amnesty for militants in the region was comprehensive and implementation of the programme was pursued with sincerity, the gains of the initiative would be lost.

UNDEDSS President, Prof. Pat Utomi, said in a statement issued yesterday that the amnesty must cover every identified militant, free or at large, for it to make any meaningful impact.

According to him, people with narrow views of law and order should not be allowed to undermine the amnesty initiative that would provide the necessary impetus for the nation’s progress.

Utomi said: “UNDEDSS therefore, on behalf of the civil society organizations, the ethnic nationalities, and professional groups of the Niger Delta call on the relevant decision makers to bear January 1970 in mind as the Nigerian Civil War ended with the euphoria of no victor no vanquished which led us to the Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction programmes that earned us the respect of the world.

“As indicated in my New year message of goodwill which was published as an Op-Ed piece on January 1 by the Guardian, I expected this year to provide the opportunity for comprehensive peace in the Niger Delta and a new lease of life for new growth in the regio and much progress around Nigeria.

“We must not allow people with narrow views of Law and Order over a great vision of progress to undermine the chance of a comprehensive deal that will provide impetus for progress.

“It is my view that only after such progress of a comprehensive all-inclusive amnesty over a reasonable period of time (between 60-90 days minimum), acceptable to all stakeholders, has been put in place should the full military might of the sovereign state should then be invoked on any elements that disrupt plans for sustained economic advance around Nigeria.”