Provide employment in N’Delta, group tells amnesty administrator

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A group of technocrats from Niger Delta region has called on the Presidential Amnesty office to focus its attention on provision of gainful employment to beneficiaries of the programme’s mandate rather than doling out handouts to them.

Making the submission at the end of an economic discourse held at BON Hotel, Effurun, Delta State on Wednesday, the group lamented that “the amnesty programme had become a cesspool of corruption and avenues for revenue leakages which must be blocked for efficient management of the programme.”

The gathering comprising Prof. Tosan Harriman from Bayero University, Kano, Navy Commodore Nesiama Omatseye (retd), NNPP Delta South senatorial candidate, Vice President, Ijaw National Congress, Dr Nengi James, therefore  called on the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) “to strengthen PAP to achieve its original Strategic Implementation Action Plan designed to massively develop the Niger Delta, which unfortunately has been ignored for a very long time by the Federal Government.”

The event had as its theme ‘Presidential Amnesty Programme and Proposed Modular Refineries,” was graced by dignitaries and well meaning Niger Deltans drawn from the academia, members of specialiSed groups, presidential amnesty beneficiaries, students of various institutions of higher learning in the country, among others.

The economic discourse which was hosted by GbaramatuVoice noted that “for the challenges presently confronting the Niger Delta region to be frontally tackled, the Federal Government must take both practical and pragmatic steps to hold a sincere conversation with Niger Deltans aimed at operationalising modular refineries in the region anchored on the tripod of receipt system, transparent pricing and supervised via a statutory body established by enabling acts for that purpose/objective.”

Participants also queried the Federal Government’s current non-participatory approach to development in the region, as well as its protracted inabilities to embrace a broad-based consultative approach that would give the people of the Niger Delta some sense of ownership over their own issues.

While noting that the challenges confronting the Niger Delta as a region dates back to as far as the 15th century, the gathering submitted that to effectively resolve the Niger Delta crisis, the government and other Nigerians should begin to see the problem of the Niger Delta as a national one and not restricted to the region.

Participants were particularly not happy that greed, selfishness, tribalism and brazen absence of political will arising from poor leadership in the country, had become potent factors that derailed the well conceived Presidential Amnesty Programme created to tackle youth restiveness resulting from galloping unemployment in the region as well as hindered  the actualisation of FG’s proposed but now abandoned modular refineries in the regoin.

They further regretted that 13 years after the presidential proclamation, the programme had neither dealt with the fundamentals of the Niger Delta struggle nor faithfully addressed the three pillars of the amnesty programme which are; disarmament, rehabilitation and reintegration, but painfully left the targeted beneficiaries of the programme more as victims of political deceit and manipulation by selfish politicians and other non-state actors that they claimed have recently hijacked the programme.

Others who spoke at the event included representative of NDDC Delta State Director, Engr. Jeremiah Oritsejolone, Assistant Director, NDDC; Chief (Engr.) Don Douyegha; PANDEF Youth Leader, Engr. Jato Abido; National Coordinator, Niger Delta Youth Council; Comrade Austin Ozobo, President, Ijaw Peoples Development Association, Comrade Jackson Timiyan; community leader; Comrade Ellington Bakumor, ex-agitators, among others.

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