From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
A group, the Reintegrated ex-militant Forum (REF) has slammed some youths from the Niger Delta region over the recent threat to shut down critical oil Infrastructures and installations in the Niger Delta region over alleged non-inclusion in the ongoing Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
It describes the threat as mischievous, criminal and a deliberate attempt to discredit the administration of President Buhari and therefore urged the Federal Government to treat those behind the threat as dissidents out to disrupt existing peace in the region.
REF, in a statement issued by its national coordinator, former Creek General, Tony Ebikaliade,
while acknowledging that every Niger Delta youth have the right to feel aggrieved in view of the unresolved challenges in the region, however insisted it does not justify the self-acclaimed Phase 3 beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) issuing threats against the nation’s critical infrastructure.
The group warned the self-acclaimed Phase 3 beneficiaries to desist from issuing threats against the nation’s infrastructures and the PAP, urging them to adhere to the principles of the PAP, or risk removal from the programme.
According to REF, the PAP under the leadership of Col. Miland Dixon Dikio (rtd.) has repositioned the programme towards achieving its core mandate, and has made more efforts to address grievances from ex-agitators across the region more than any other PAP administration under President Muhammadu Buhari.
It called on security agencies to separate dissident groups being sponsored from genuine Niger Delta youths who have embraced the various channels of communications initiated for resolution of conflict between youths and the Amnesty Office.
The statement read in part “We are not surprised at the actions of the agitated youths hiding under the banner of Phase 3 agitators. The time for political jobs has come and these dissidents have offered themselves to be used as tools to destabilize the existing peace in the region. Though, we admit that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has not been fair to the region in terms of the immediate set up of the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the completion of the East-West road and few others, the threat by a few sponsored youths to the nation through the Presidential Amnesty office is wrong, misplaced and criminal.
“The Colonel Miland Dixon Dikio (rtd) led Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) should not be the avenue to be used by the so-called Phase 3 youths to destabilize the region. Col. Dikio (rtd.) has been the only Amnesty coordinator that has refused to stay in Abuja to administer the office. He decentralized the Amnesty office by conducting town hall styled interactions with Amnesty beneficiaries without segregation. He conducted a balanced audit of the Amnesty programme and stopped issues of delay in payment of Amnesty stipends, protest or threat of violence by beneficiaries.”