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Don’t politicise FG’s amnesty offer, group warns

By Abdulwahab Abdulah & Tosin Adejuwon
A call has gone to politicians and elites in the Niger/ Delta states not to make the amnesty granted by the federal government to militants in the area part of their political machineries.

Speaking through their spokesperson, Annkio Briggs in Lagos, the Ijaw Republican Assembly (IRA) and United Niger Delta Energy Security Strategy (UNDESS) said if adequate care was not taken, the opportunity offered the restive youths by the government would elude them and nothing tangible would be achieved at the end of the day.

The groups also called on the federal government to be plain and sincere in its quest for peace in the Niger Delta to ensure that the whole process leads to the delivery of justice to the suffering masses of the area.

According to Briggs, the amnesty granted  the militants is not expected to be an avenue for the recruitment of political supporters or a platform to canvass for votes in 2001. She said the aims and objectives of the amnesty could be achieved through political process.

She said : “Justice for the Niger Delta people is not politics but needs political process to be achieved, it is therefore not a platform for second term agenda, amnesty is not a recruiting ground for 2011 elections, it is not to deliver for PDP across the Niger Delta,  it is to provide a platform for the Federal Government to prove that it means well to deliver justice and development not only to the Niger Delta but to the suffering masses of all Nigerians”.

She said it was not expected that the federal government should fool the Niger Deltans by offering amnesty to the militants just because the 2011 general elections are fast approaching, rather government should try and liberate the people of the region from abject poverty, hunger and unemployment which was as a result of over 50 years of neglect of the people of the area.

She claimed that the leadership and political representation in the region is not a birthright of any individuals, “neither should it be sold and bought, leadership and political representation should be earned, political representation and leadership is not a title it is a service, a selfless service from a few to the majority.”

She further said :“Governance should be based on truth and transparency, from our councillors to our local government chairmen, to State Assembly representatives, to Senators and Legislators, to state governors they are our servants and not masters, every kobo earned is our funds, which must be accounted for.

“Governance is not the personal inheritance of anyone or a selected group of people, its our collective inheritance and we owe it to ourselves, to account for it and invest it for our children’s future,” she added.

She said that the Federal Government in its decision to offer amnesty is doing what it believes is needed to restore peace.

To achieve a success however, she said “we must understand what the amnesty will deliver, how it will be delivered and at the end of the day what it means to the common man in the Niger Delta.

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