Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Ex-agitators under the third phase Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) have called on the administrator of the scheme, Col. Milland Dikio (retd) and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, to overhaul the amnesty office.
According to them the immediate overhaul of the programme is the only way to salvage it and sustain the peace in the Niger Delta region.
They lamented that the current structure of the office had made it impossible for the programme to perform optimally and deliver its mandate.
The ex-agitators under the aegis of the Niger Delta Reformed Force (NDRF) disclosed that those creating problems in the office and making it impossible for the scheme to succeed were not from the Niger Delta region.
The group commended President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Dikio, an Ijaw man to head the programme and expressed confidence in his ability to deliver the huge expectations of all stakeholders in the region.
It also hailed Dikio’s strides since he resumed office, especially his efforts to clear outstanding contract payments, stipends of ex-agitators and ongoing verification for payment of fees of students of the amnesty programme.
The ex-militants described as laughable attempts by some unscrupulous elements to advance political sentiment in the appointment of personal aides to the new administrator.
NDRF statement signed by the group’s leader, General Osama, asked Dikio and Monguno to immediately disengage all the non-indigenes of Niger Delta working in the office to allow the people of the region manage their scheme.
The statement read in part: “As a group, we urge the NSA and the new administrator to as a matter of urgency remove all those who are working in the Amnesty office who do not have any relationship with the Niger Delta region, especially non-Ijaw speaking elements and replace them with our Ijaw brothers and sisters whose agitation led to the establishment of the PAP.
“It will be easier to hold our brothers and sisters accountable if there is are lapses in the system because if they fail to deliver they will not be able to come back home and experience peace.
“But those from other regions as we have seen over the years are not committed and because they know we can’t reach them, they have mismanaged what should have been one of the best intentions of the Federal Government since we became a sovereign nation.”
They said a recent publication by a faceless group to blackmail the administrator over his choice of appointees smacked of bad blood and insisted that the amnesty boss reserved the right to appoint anyone from Ijaw extraction as his aide.
“Most of the contracts are given to outsiders. That office is created to take care of ex militants not to take care of people who don’t have any link to the arms struggle and agitation for a better region” the statement added.