BY Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
…Says Itsekiri youths agitation for inclusion valid
ABUJA—The Presidential Amnesty Programme has saved the nation about N 6 trillion in production gain, in the last three years, the Senior Special Adviser, SSA, to the President on Niger Delta and Chief Executive Officer of the programme, Mr. Kungsley Kuku, has revealed.
Addressing a press conference on the programme’s third anniversary in Abuja, yesterday, he also described as ‘valid’, the agitation by Itsekiri youths for inclusion in the programme and that he was already persuading President Jonathan to include them.
Explaining what the programme achieved since inception and the cost of running it, the SSA explained that the office was running the programme with less than three days oil production gain with the 2012 budget standing at about N70 billion but added that the budget was little when compared with the overall national benefits.
He said: “For this year, we got a budget of about N70 billion. Note this, when you hear N70 billion, people shout but they have forgotten the commitment we have with the ex-agitators. The commitment is clear- every month, we give them their stipends and allowances.
“I believe there is nothing too much in putting together, financially, to sustain the peace we are enjoying and the security situation as it stands today, in the Niger Delta for the whole of Nigeria to benefit because when you talk about N 70 billion; you are talking about N33.4 billion daily as production gain.”
“So what is N70 billion in a year to N33.4 billion daily production gain? It is about 2 days or less than 3 days of production gain. So 3 days out of 365 days? Is that what Nigerians should bother about? The Niger Delta youth actually represent the need for more funding in terms of re-integration, in terms of demobilization, in terms of empowerment by various agencies of government, not just from our own sector.
“Whatever has been put into the Amnesty Programme is less than 3 days of production for the whole of this country and everybody in this country- North South, West, East- is benefiting from whatever we are gaining from the sustenance of this programme.”