Yenagoa—Chairman of Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers and the Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, King Bubaraye Dakolo-Agada IV and the 2nd Vice President of Ijaw National Congress, INC, Chief Nengi Eriworio, have kicked against the reported plan by the Federal Government to scrap the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP.
King Dakolo-Agada IV and Eriworio stated this in separate interviews in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
They both agreed that PAP has contributed to the unity of Nigeria, sustained the peace in Niger Delta with increased volumes of oil and gas production, and assisted the Federal Government in generating excess revenues of over $300 billion from the sale of oil and gas products in the last 12 years.
While King Dakolo commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the appointment of the new Interim Administrator, Major-General Barry Ndiomu (retd), he noted that PAP should be sustained so that the youths of the region would have more opportunities to be trained and empowered to become useful citizens from the region.
Eriworio, who is also the Bayelsa State Chairman of the Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, argued: “Despite the challenges of control and misapplication of priorities in terms of training and funding, the PAP should be sustained because it assists thousands of families and youths across Niger Delta, which produces majority of the natural resources that have continually sustained the country, and the region remains the major source for Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.
“The PAP has also assisted in areas of manpower development, entrepreneurial skills among Niger Delta youths, and in sustaining the peace for oil and gas expatriates to operate freely across the region.”
King Dakolo-Agada IV, said: “While thanking President Buhari for the appointment of our capable son into the programme at this point in history, we want to call that PAP be sustained so that the teeming youths in the region, who are still suffering from one form of displacement or unemployment are properly trained and empowered for the future of the region.
“These youths will have a reason and an opportunity to be properly trained to become more useful citizens of Niger Delta and Nigeria at large.
Also speaking, Eriworio called on President Buhari to shun the calls for the scrapping of PAP, saying instead, the president should increase funding for the training and empowerment of the youths of the region.
Eriworio, who expressed concern over the excessive external influence in the PAP, said: “There is the need to sustain the amnesty programme and allow for proper training and engagement of the youths of the region, there are many youths that are still waiting to be trained. Some are even in court seeking to be included in the programme, while millions of youths across the region are eagerly expressing their desires to be included in the programme.
“Therefore, it is in the interest of the Federal Government to sustain this affordable peace, instead of scrapping this cost effective peace for an unknown alternative that might cost ten to twenty times more.”