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The Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, has enjoined the Federal Government to adequately fund the Presidential Amnesty Programme and ensure that participants are meaningfully engaged.
PANDEF National Chairman, Air Comdr. Idongesit Nkanga (Rtd), disclosed this when he led members of the National Executive Committee of the group on a courtesy visit to the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Quaker Dokubo.
Nkanga attributed the peace in the Niger Delta to the amnesty initiative, which he said, was vital for development of the region.
According to him, “For us to achieve total peace, the amnesty programme should be pursued seriously, and there must be an exit strategy; the boys must have something to do.
“It is not just for us to achieve peace; those participating in the programme must be meaningfully engaged.”
Responding, Prof. Dokubo urged leaders and elders of the Niger Delta not to pursue individual interests, but offer him advice and guidance that would benefit the people of the region.
Dokubo, who noted that issues of the Niger Delta were being addressed, described the amnesty programme as work in progress, just as he said it was time for Niger Deltans to put things in order and do the needful.
He said with the cooperation and support of PANDEF and other stakeholders in the Niger Delta region, he would achieve his set objectives.
“If we fail our people, then we fail for everything. If we don’t empower our people, stabilize their lifestyles, then, I believe that we will only be playing catch-up. That is why inasmuch as we look for development, there is need to retrain the minds of our people. It is not only about stipends, but the quality of life for the Niger Delta people.
“There is also the issue of reintegration, which is very important. When you are dealing with post conflict situation where you have to review the institutions, review the standard of living and all that, it’s a difficult issue. You cannot selectively adopt policies and other things”, Dokubo said.