By Emma Amaize
WARRIâ€”MINISTER of State for Niger-Delta, Elder Godsday Orubebe says the Federal Government has a concrete post-amnesty programme for militants contrary to the claim of the South-South governors.
He also asked those threatening to reject the amnesty to send their own wards to the creeks to fight so that they would know the pains of arms conflict.
Speaking in an interview, he said â€œit is not true that there is no definite post amnesty plan for the region.Â Those canvassing this position should go and read various documents and reports and papers presented to Mr. President for comments on the amnesty programme.
â€œPeople should read papers and documents before making public pronouncement on sensitive issues. In fact, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and other agencies have been given directive on how to re-integrate repentant militants.
â€œPeople should not tie their political interest to the amnesty initiative geared towards re-integration of our youths into the society and transformation of the Niger Delta.â€
The minister, who was asked to react to a report in a national daily that he supported alleged movement of the university to Kaduna by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Rilwan Lukman, said: â€œEverybody knows that my passion for the Niger Delta and Nigeria as well as standards cannot be compromised in any form”.
And in line with the vision and passion of my boss (Yarâ€™Adua), my commitment to the peace and development in the Niger Delta is irrevocable.
â€œThose who are rejecting and calling for the boycott of the amnesty should send their children to the creeks to let them feel how to live in the creeks. This offer (amnesty) is a compromise position of Mr. President to a people he has constitutionally vowed to govern for peace to undertake his (Yarâ€™Adua) development activities in the Niger Delta.
â€œMr. President has said over and over that the Niger Delta has not gotten its fair share and that he was determined to make a difference. What ordinarily is expected is for any well meaning Nigerian who wishes the Niger Delta well to support this bold initiative of Mr. President..
â€œI am very sure that anybody whose biological child is involved in this crisis will only rationally support this initiative because what has been agitated in the past is what is being addressed. That call (boycott of amnesty) is not a call for the well being of the Niger Delta. It is a call for distraction and certainly they are not speaking for the people of Niger Delta.
â€œThe same people who are calling the militants criminals are again asking them to boycott the amnesty initiative. What the Federal Government has done is to integrate everybody and move the region forward.â€