By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”GOVERNOR Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has expressed optimism that the amnesty granted to militants in the Niger Delta by President Musa Yarâ€™Adua would go a long way in solving the restiveness in the region if properly implemented.
The governor, who expressed his optimism while playing host to the implementation committee on presidential amnesty for militants, led by Air Vice Marshall Lucky Ararile, at Government House, Benin City, said the initiative deserved the support of every well-meaning Nigerian since the lingering crisis in the region had given the world a great concern.
In a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the governor, Mr. John Mayaki, Governor Oshiomhole stated that â€œwe pray that at the end of this exercise, the objective of disarmament and amnesty is achieved.
â€œWe have serious challenges here in Edo State and we may not be in a position to fund, but you can be sure of our co-operation in terms of providing land or accommodation for collection centre.
â€œWe are looking forward to working with this committee to bring peace to the region and improve the quality of lives of the people. This initiative of Mr. President is a welcome development and it is our believe that if all the parties keep to their promises, all will be well with us as a region and countryâ€, he stated.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Air Vice Marshall Lucky Ararile, saidÂ the Presidential proclamation of amnesty was done on June 5, 2009, after consultation with the National Assembly, National Council of States and other stakeholders.
According to him, there are three phases of the assignment, which are; â€œdisarmament, re-integration, demobilisation, and the militants will be rehabilitated at the re-integration centres and classified into various trade groups. He said the president was desirous of giving them opportunity to pursue whatever career they desired, especially in the area of education, adding that arrangements were on for the Ministry of the Niger-Delta to take over this assignment since it is going to be a long term issue.
â€œWe also have a coordinating centre in Enugu where the arms would be collected centrally and destroyed. Each of the states has a coordinator sent in by each state governor beside military coordinators who will man the collection of arms.
And In Edo state, there will be two collection points and one re-integration centre and the exercise will commence on August 6â€ he said.