From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The future of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) came under focus on Thursday when its Interim Administrator, Major General Barry Ndiomu met with some stakeholders in Delta State including ex-warlord, Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo.
The meeting held at Tompolo’s country home in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Ndiomu sought the cooperation of Tompolo on his mandate to systematically bring PAP to its termination stage.
He commended Tompolo for his recent feat in the pipeline surveillance contract awarded to his company by the Federal Government.
The PAP helmsman had earlier visited the Pere of Gbaramatu, King Williams Ogoba Oboro Gbaraun II, at his palace where he intimated stakeholders on the new directive of the government about the amnesty programme.
Ndiomu assured the people his team would return to a more comprehensive consultation.
“I am pleading that we will be inviting His Royal Majesty to also participate, so that there will be contributions from the palace, and we can together articulate a position which we will present to government to further improve what we want in terms of our demands, for our people.
“If you recall, when the programme itself was put in place the objective was for it to have terminated in 2015 but it has gone beyond 2015. And so the thinking of government is that we have to refocus and redirect the programme in such a way that we’ll move towards the final termination, in a very systematic manner.
“Since I assumed office in the last one month and a couple of weeks or so, I have found out myself that a lot of things are wrong with the programme. Without any doubt, the programme has completely derailed from the purpose for which it was established and as I speak to you, there are many people who are not even Niger Deltans that have been awarded scholarships.
“We cannot allow this to continue and it is for these reasons and more that I believe government is saying no, this programme has lost it’s focus let us all sit together.
“So that is why they’ve asked me to have consultations with the people of the Niger Delta, we sit together and tell ourselves the truth, has it really served the interest of our people, what do we propose collectively as an alternative, as something better, which we have to take back to the government and say, this is how we want this programme to go that will be beneficial to the interest of our people”.
Receiving the august visitor, the monarch acknowledged that the amnesty programme had derailed from its original idea, and urged him to do what was right for the interest of the people and the region.
His words: “We all know the amnesty programme has a history, let’s start from somewhere, and it’s moving, it’s deviating from the right part. We all know the amnesty programme is deviating from the right part. We want you to be firm, stand firm.
“This your visit is a familiarisation one. We have a lot to say, but the time is little, so we also ask for your second visit, so that we will discuss at length, because there are many things that we have to discuss for the benefit and the peace of Niger Delta, so to shorten the interaction, there is no time, time is not on our side, we’ll let you to go and we’re also asking for another visit. It’s a kind of emergency one today.”