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Amnesty programme is not working – Mitee, Igini

THE HAGUE — CHAIRMAN of the defunct Niger-Delta Technical Committee (NTDC), Mr. Ledum Mitee and other stakeholders of the Niger-Delta, yesterday, in Netherlands said the amnesty programme of the Federal Government was not working and called on the international community to mount pressure on the government to implement the report of the Committee.

Executive directors of the Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Mr. Anyaekwee Nsirimovu and Centre for Leadership Values and Policy, Barrister Mike Igini and Dr. Sofiri Peterside of the Center for Advance Social Sciences  said the Federal Government picked up amnesty, which is one of the recommendations of his committee, because the militants matched the Joint Task Force (JTF) on the Niger-Delta fire-for -fire, but, the problem is that it was not was not implementing it the way it was recommended.

They also said the committee set up by the government to drive the amnesty programme in the Niger-Delta was not capable of handling the process with its performance so far and called for its dismantling.

However, Mr. Kabim Ibala who represented the Nigerian Ambassador to Netherlands , Dr. (Mrs.) Nimota Akanbi was not available in the second session of the “Niger-Delta Peace Consolidation Conference” by the Hope for Niger-Delta Campaign when the issue of amnesty programme was raised.

An official of the Embassy who spoke in her personal capacity said she had no comments to  on the matter but  a source said the Embassy does not have a copy of the report.

Mr. Mitee who described himself as an intellectual militant said besides presiding over the NTDC, he was among those that pioneered the Niger-Delta struggle, but, the reality on ground was that the government prefers to listen to armed militants.

He noted that the Federal Government tried to frustrate the activities of the committee when it was set up but the committee against all odds completed the assignment only for the report to be abandoned.

Mitee said the Federal Government did not bother the report submitted to it but just accepted amnesty because it was good at the stage it was applied to grant it to militants to enable the government and the oil companies to continue with oil exploration.

He said the tactics the government has adopted was to throw money at issues affecting the Niger-Delta and most recently, it voted N56 billion for the post-amnesty programme without plans for its proper usage, saying it was not clear that the money was going into any tangible development in the region.

He said the government has not even made adequate arrangement to cater for the ex-militants that agreed to drop their arms and that the committee driving the process was not competent to do so.


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