From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has warned of an impending second wave of militancy in the Niger Delta region if the federal government fails to completely implement the full package of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
The council said the country would not survive a fresh return to militancy by aggrieved youths in the region and wondered why the government chose to play politics with an important scheme like PAP.
The IYC President, Mr Timothy Peter Igbifa in a press statement issued on Wednesday while recalling that the amnesty project was initiated 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 however noted that its cardinal objective of integration, empowerment and regional development had remained a mirage.
The IYC boss 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.
“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,” he said.
Igbifa 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 bubbling with economic prosperity and social harmony.
He said the government was toying with fire by mismanaging the amnesty programme as it could lead to massive return of the youths to the creeks.
But the IYC boss said the appointment of Col. Miland Dixon Dikio (retd) as the interim administrator of PAP had provided the government another opportunity to reposition the programme.
He asked the government to give maximum support to Dikio warning that if the federal government failed to act fast in implementing the complete PAP framework, militancy would resurface in the region.
Igbifa said: “A second wave of militancy is looming in the region and it will be very difficult for the country to survive it. The only thing left for the government to do is ensure all promises contained in the amnesty programme are fulfilled without further.
“With the appointment of the current interim administrator, an opportunity has been opened to redeem the situation. Any attempt to maintain the business-as-usual approach to the management of PAP will lead to fresh militancy in the region.