By Kenneth Ehigiator
Presidential Amnesty Office, said, weekend, that it had neither the powers nor competences to stop the crime being committed in the Niger Delta or stop any person who willfully decides to commit crime in the region.

Chairman of the Amnesty Office and Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Matters, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, who spoke on the development, weekend, said the office had no guns nor ammunition to  physically combat willful crime perpetrators or criminality in the region.

He spoke against the backdrop of growing attacks on the office over the occasional security breaches in the region.

Kuku said it was the responsibility of security agencies, including the police, State Security Services, SSS, and Joint Task Force on the Niger Delta to maintain security in the region.

He said:  “The very critical role of enforcing laws and dealing with criminals in Niger Delta and other parts of the country is constitutionally vested on the Nigeria Police, the SSS and of course the Armed Forces as currently represented in the states in the Niger Delta by the Joint Military Task Force.

“Amnesty Office is not a security agency and the mandate of the Presidential Amnesty Programme does not include curbing crime or enforcing laws in the Niger Delta.

“It is true that the Presidential Amnesty Programme has aided the stabilisation of security in the Niger Delta by successfully overseeing the disarmament, demobilisation and currently reintegrating the 26,358 Niger Delta ex-agitators, who accepted the amnesty and enlisted in the programme, which is in two phases.”

He expressed confidence in the ability of officers and men of JTF to protect vital oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta and deal with person or persons who attack oil facilities or generally attempt to breach the peace in the region.

Kuku said: “For emphasis, it must be clarified for the umpteenth time that pursuant to its mandate, the Amnesty Office, aided by gallant officers and men of our Armed forces pursued a very successful disarmament campaign and huge cache of arms and ammunition were submitted by the ex-agitators, prior to their being admitted into the post-amnesty Programme.

“Disarmament was concluded in December 2009 but the arms and ammunitions collected were stored at the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army in Enugu and in compliance with extant DDR codes as spelt out by the United Nations, these arms and ammunition were on May 25, 2011, completely destroyed by the Nigerian Army in Lokpanta, a boundary town in Enugu State, under the watch of the Amnesty Office.”

….As N-Delta group flays critics of amnesty programme
By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa—A Niger Delta-based socio-political organisation, the Niger Delta Buckingham Palace, yesterday, flayed critics of the Presidential Amnesty Programme for ex-militants in the Niger Delta, describing them as saboteurs and enemies of development in the region.

Specifically, the group slammed those it said were hiding under the revenue sharing controversy to destabilise the region and the country. It called on other interventionist agencies and the state governments in the region to complement the efforts of the amnesty office by creating youth engagement programmes.

President of the group, Mr. Bekes ApeAre, in a statement in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said instead of commending the amnesty programme for bringing relative peace to the region, the critics were using other unresolved problems in the region to attack the Coordinator of the Programme and Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Kingsley Kuku.

The group noted that though the core mandate of the amnesty office was disarming, rehabilitating and reintegrating 26,358 ex-agitators from the region, who accepted amnesty offered them by the Federal Government, “the latter not only completed the demobilisation, disarmament and rehabilitation aspect of its mandate but it was rated globally as the best among countries, where such strategy was used to fight militancy.

“The amnesty office had so far conducted the integration phase of the programme successfully and this had led to the relative peace in the region, which led to an increase in Nigeria’s oil production from less than one million barrels per day pre-amnesty period to an average of 2.6million barrels today due to improvement in the post-amnesty programme.”

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