From: TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The Federal Government has said it would sustain the existing amnesty programme for repentant militants in the Niger Delta region because the package has been successful.
Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta and Coordinator of Amnesty Programme, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boro (rtd) stated this on Sunday while commissioning a supermarket under the Federal Government Youth Empowerment programme in Okrika, Rivers State.
Boro stressed that the Federal Government was concerned about the peace in Niger Delta, expressing optimism that peace and resolution in the region would be achieved.
He noted that, if Federal Government knew that the crisis in the North-East would escalate to the state of terrorism, it would have prevented it from the onset.
“If we knew that the North-East is going to be this bad, candidly speaking, we would have prevented it from the onset. That is where we are going to in Niger Delta. We do not want a repeat of what happened in the North-East to happen in Niger Delta.
” We shall continue to sustain this programme until we have achieved final peace and resolution of the crisis of the Niger Delta”, he stated.
Gen. Boro noted that no amount spent could quantify peace and charged beneficiaries of Amnesty programme to make judicious use it to impact positively on the society.
He pointed out: “I would say amnesty programme has been very satisfactory. Amnesty programme being a security programme is very expensive. The beneficiaries should be serious and take it as a challenge to transform their lives positively and make a living from there.
“The programme is being sustained that is why it is ongoing. Federal Government will sustain it. It is an ongoing process in the resolution of conflict in the Niger Delta”.
He said: “It is difficult to calculate the amount for peace. The question should be, are we achieving peace? If yes, let it be. It is very difficult to express in terms of finances how much we have spent to achieve peace, because no amount of time, efforts, resources can be calculated to achieve peace.
On the beneficiaries of the Federal Government Youth Empowerment programme, the President’s aide urged the Chief Executive Officer of Kaiba Green Giant Farms Limited, Henry Alaye Lawson, to check the performance of the recipients regularly.
“These beneficiaries are not businessmen. They are just starting the business for the first time. There is the need to monitor them and evaluate what they are doing.
“While monitoring their performance, also take it with until they grow in the business. Make them understand that whatever gain they make should be reinvested in the business”, he charged.
In his remarks, the CEO of Kaiba Farms, Lawson, disclosed that 40 delegates that cut across four States in the region had benefited from the first phase of the empowerment programme. Kaiba Farms trains and empowers the delegates.