From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has raised the alarm over imminent second wave of militancy in the Niger Delta region, if the Federal Government fails to implement the full package of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
The IYC warned the country would not survive a fresh return to militancy by aggrieved Niger Delta youths and wondered why the federal government should play politics with PAP.
President of the council, Timothy Igbifa, noted that the amnesty project was designed to take youths out of the creeks and integrate them into the society through a well-organised programme of empowerment and development of the region.
Igbifa, in a statement he issued in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Igbifa, said the amnesty programme’s major objective of integration, empowerment and regional development had remained a mirage.
He regretted that the amnesty scheme had not gone beyond its disarmament phase, adding that the federal government had failed to advance the programme to the next phase because of the continuous free-flow of crude oil production.
Igbifa noted: “The amnesty scheme has not lived up to its purpose. The Federal Government has failed woefully to take the programme beyond the disarmament and demobilisation stage because they feel they have successfully brought the youths out of the creeks and nothing is disturbing oil production. So, the government is currently playing politics with the scheme”.
The IYC leader said all stakeholders had waited in vain to see multiple jobs created in the region by the amnesty programme and the transformation of the Niger Delta into modern cities with economic prosperity and social harmony.
He said government was toying with fire by mismanaging the amnesty programme, stressing that it could lead to return of the youths to the creeks.
He said the appointment of Colonel Miland Dixon Dikio (retd) as the interim administrator of PAP, had provided the government another opportunity to reposition the programme.