From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Maj-Gen Barry Ndiomu (retd), has explained the policy document of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), saying it was originally designed to end in 2015.
Ndiomu, who spoke after a crucial meeting with the King of Okochiri in Okirika, Rivers State, Ateke Tom, at the weekend, said the life of the amnesty programme was extended by the Federal Government beyond its terminal year following some exigencies.
Ndiomu’s meeting with King Ateke Tom, an ex-warlord and key figure of PAP, was one of a series of engagements geared towards peace and confidence building as well as a consultative and fact-finding mission to the region.
Reacting to concerns and fears raised by some stakeholders, he said the PAP would not be abruptly terminated, assuring that he would constantly visit the region.
Ndiomu said: “The whole idea is to get them (stakeholders) to understand the fact that first of all the amnesty programme itself by name will end. It’s not intended to be an endless exercise. Originally as you will recall it was intended to be terminated in the year 2015. But for certain reasons of exigency, it was extended beyond 2015.
“We need to also educate them on the need to focus more on the fact that there could be a terminal date at some point and we all need to work together towards that so we do not lose focus from the primary objective of the scheme which is in itself intended to terminate at some point.”
Ndiomu, who thanked the monarch for the warm reception accorded him and his team, also applauded the king for his tireless efforts to sustain peace in his kingdom and the Niger Delta region.
The PAP boss assured the monarch that the Federal Government was committed to driving the rapid development of the region and called for support from everyone.
He said: “I came to introduce myself as the new interim Administrator and also to acquaint him with the general policy direction of the federal government as regards the amnesty programme.
“We were very well received, we listened to him, his needs and the reservations that he expressed we will also move that to the authorities to let them know this was his reaction. He was generally satisfied and he is very willing to cooperate and work with us to ensure that the intentions of the government are fully actualised.”