BY KENNETH EHIGIATOR
ABUJA – Former Minister of State for Defence, Major General Godwin Abbe (rtd), weekend, described the Federal Government’s amnesty programme as a gamble which has turned out successful to the admiration of the world.
This came on a day the Special Adviser to the President on the Niger Delta, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, solicited the assistance of state and local governments, as well as corporate bodies in the country, in the employment and empowerment of the teeming unemployed youths in the country to make the amnesty programme sustainable.
Abbe, who spoke at the pre-departure briefing of 258 ex-militants to India, South Africa, the Philippines and Poland for training, said at the time the Federal Government contemplated amnesty for restive Niger Delta militants in 2009, it was not sure of its success, expressing surprise at the success rate of the programme thus far.
The former Minister, who was pioneer chairman of the Presidential Committee on Amnesty, said: “When we embarked on this amnesty programme in 2009, we knew it was a gamble, but Nigeria needed an answer to the problems in the Niger Delta, the world was watching.
”We did not foresee what is happening today, seeing the former agitators being sent overseas for both academic and craft training.”
He noted that during the de-mobilisation phase of a similar programme in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan and some other countries, so many people were killed in the process, stressing that no single life was lost at Obubra, Cross River State, where the ex-militants were given non-violence training before their deployments to training centres across the world.