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Ex-militants reject Presidential C’ttee on amnesty’s work plan

By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa — Stake-holders in the Niger Delta, yesterday, rejected the Federal Government Presi-dential Committee on Amnesty’s work plan for ex-militants in the region, saying a close scrutiny of the document showed that the money allocated to consul-tants was more than the one for the actual beneficiaries.

They presented what they described as a more workable document for the integration and rehabilitation of ex-militants in the region under the post-amnesty progra-mme.

Ex-militants and youth leaders in the region had in Yenagoa rejected the draft document of the Presidential Committee on Amnesty (PCA) and instituted an eight-man committee, headed by the founding Director, Ijaw Council for Human Rights, to review the document and come up with a more acceptable work plan in the interest of peace.

The eight-man committee sat for three days to review the PCA document and came up with its recommendations, having faulted the Major General Godwin Abbe-led committee on the estimated  20,000 people for the exercise, describing it as over-bloated.

The committee recommen-ded a strict collection of the actual number of ex-militants from the various camps through the cooperation of  identified camp leaders,  against the current practice where some major leaders, including Prince Amabiye (Buster Rhymes), Ken Opusuiju (Ken Kula), Soboma Jackrich (Egberi Papa), Chris Donpedro and Young Shall Grow were not carried along.

In rejecting the draft document, the youth leaders and ex-militants said “we have also deduced from the draft copy that key sectors of the economy, such as oil and gas, entertainment, NIIT and APTECH, have been delibera-tely left out in the document.

“We also opine that the training centres in Alu, Igbokodo and Agbarho are grossly inadequate for the training of the above estimate within the specified time frame.

“We have also submitted that the amount of money allocated for only accommo-dation, amounting to N6.730 billion, is indeed a ridiculous figure as this figure alone can build all the destroyed towns in the Niger Delta.

“We have also closely investigated the designated business centres for training of our youths and submit that these centres are grossly inadequate and lacking in both technical and manpower ability to carry out the target objective.

We also opine strongly that the certification, as outlined in the draft document, is unacceptable as such certificate of City and Guilds falls below acceptable standards in contemporary business world.”

According to them, the plan did not make provision for those who are grossly affected by the crisis, especially children and women and that a close scrutiny of the estimated funds for setting up of the various business for graduands is grossly inade-quate and makes a mockery of the entire programme.

To ensure a success of the post-amnesty programme, the committee recommended that all those directly affected by the crisis, especially women who have lost their sources of livelihood and major breadwinners as a result of the crisis, be included in all plans and projections for rehabilitation and reintegration.

It also suggested that data collection should be done in collaboration with all ex-militant camp commanders, Niger Delta agitators, the amnesty sub-committee and registrars/consultants, stressing that the two weeks be used exclusively and meticulously for data collation and documentation only.

Orientation, induction method

On the orientation and induction plan to be used for the repentant militants, the committee suggested a place in the Niger Delta, preferably Calabar, using huge tents (UNICEF standard) as well as provision of health centres with adequate personnel and medications to meet their medical needs.

The committee further suggested that convenience facilities be bought and used in setting up residential/training camps, instead of training in batches or neglecting any group, adding that all the programmes be monitored and evaluated by indigenous (Niger Delta) consultant/experts and some notable agitators with successful history of working with high risk groups and policy makers.

“Knowing that one of the major drivers of the Niger Delta crisis is in the discrepancy in oil and gas industry, especially in employ-ment, scholarship, inequality and quality of living conditions of host communi-ties, and knowing that any programme without that consideration will lead to a collapse of the programme, we, therefore, suggest that oil and gas programmes must be factored in.

“Beneficiaries will be sent to recognised colleges, skills acquisition centres and universities at home and abroad with recognised accreditation,” they added.


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