March 5, 2020

Niger Delta youths urge Buhari not to scrap Amnesty Programme

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

Youths under the auspices of Niger Delta Progressive Youth Forum, NDPYF, Thursday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari, not to go on with the alleged plan of scrapping the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

Speaking on behalf of the group was its National President, Napoleon Ehiremen, who said that the programme has really impacted positively on the lives of Niger Delta youth in many ways, hence has brought peace to the region since inception.

Ehiremen further said that the President should consider the positive impacts and factors, which are to be considered for the programme to continue instead of the alleged move to scrap it.

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He also said the programme has brought stability and peace to oil companies and their operations in the region and added that the federal government should focus more on appointing people that are not politically tainted to lead the organisation instead of contemplating scrapping it.

He said: “The creation of the Programme by the Federal Government under the leadership of Late President Musa Yar’adua, was the best decision taken to arrest the deteriorating insecurity in the region adding that the laudable programme must not be allowed to die as the consequences were better imagined.

“NDPYF in all humility and sense of purpose wishes to advise the federal government to avoid appointing politicians or anybody affiliated to any militant camp as it has affected the performance of the programme and also created needless tension, rambling, bickering, and rivalries among stakeholders in the region.”

The group also advised the President to shun political interference rather should consider Civil Society Organizations, CSOs as ‘neutral area’ to make appointments into the programme that have distinguished themselves in the pursuance of peace in the region, adding that this would create a level of neutrality and enhance performance in the discharge of its responsibilities.

“There are civil society groups and NGOs that have promoted peace in the region, they are not politicians nor militants but sincere advocates for peace, and they know the people and the people trust them.

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“The Presidential Amnesty Programme has struggled to achieve the little it has so far because it has become too political in its dealings. Essentially allowing politicians to be deeply involved in the activities of organization is poor and this regrettably has impacted negatively in the discharge of its responsibilities to the ex-agitators and the region at large.

“Also the organisation’s funds are being diverted to areas that are not under its terms of the contract or the reasons for which it was set up”, he asserted.

The group further stressed that programme is well-positioned to maintain and promote peace in the region through the training and rehabilitation of ex-militants, adding that what the organisation need is a new and untainted individual with fresh ideas to further make it effective and result orienting.