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By  Elom Victor.
DEPUTY President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-
Agege, All Progressives Congress, APC, Delta Central has
warned the Federal Government to as a matter of
urgency jettison plans to scrap the Presidential Amnesty
Programme (PAP), saying that any attempt to do that
would truncate the fragile peace in the Niger Delta
Region of the country.
Omo- Agege has pleaded with the Federal Government to
shelve alleged plans to scarp the PAP for ex-agitators in
the overall interest of the Niger Delta region.
Speaking weekend in Abuja when he played host to a
socio-political organization, New Era Forum, the Deputy
President of the Senate who charged the people in the
region to come up with a new narrative about holding
leaders in the region to account, however, described the
move to stop the programme as premature and ill-timed.
Omo- Agege said, “In recent times there has been a
debate for either the scrapping or retention of the
Presidential Amnesty Programme, introduced by late
President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2009 for Niger Delta
militants who had engaged in armed struggle for a better
deal in the oil-rich region.
“I don’t think that the timing is right for the Amnesty
Programme to be scrapped. We have challenges right
now in the North East, the ravages of Boko Haram,
banditry in North West and North Central. Those are
enough challenges already in this country. I don’t believe
that this is the time to reawaken the agitations of
militancy in the Niger Delta region.
“It is my hope and expectation that the policymakers
who are around Mr President will convey this to Mr
President that to the extent that there is any such plan at
this time, it is premature and ill-timed.
“That is not to say that this programme must stay in
perpetuity. But we don’t believe that the goals set have
been completely achieved.”
The Deputy President of the Senate who urged the group
to come up with a new narrative about holding leaders in
the region to account, said that leaders in the region
have failed, having been unable to judiciously utilise
funds released for the development of the region.
READ ALSO: Ex-militants threaten
attack over alleged planned to scrap
Amnesty Program
Omo- Agege said, “I have been privy to all of the
budgetary estimates that were passed both in the Eighth
Assembly and in the Ninth Assembly. And all that we are
entitled to as a region has been given to us. But we have
failed Mr President because we have not been able to
hold to account those to whom these resources have
been entrusted.
“You don’t expect Mr President moving from community
to community to ensure that the fundings made available
to us have been judiciously utilised. It is up to us as the
people of the region who cried out to insist that
interventionist agencies like NDDC be created for us and
properly funded and as a result of the youth agitation in
the region that the Amnesty Programme be set up,
it is left for us to ask questions that to the extent that
the fundings have been released to us how have these
been utilised? It is left for us to ensure we identify the
projects that we believe will best meet the needs of our
people.
“It is not in Mr President’s place to come to my
community to tell me what project should be sited in my
community to alleviate the challenges we face as a
result of environmental degradation and oil exploration. It
is in the place of my community to come to Mr President
through these agencies to say this is our priority.
And having provided those funds, it is left for us to get
back to Mr President either through the National
Assembly or the security agencies to say these are the
projects that were provided in our communities but not
implemented.
“So Mr President has done his part, we are the ones that
have failed our people.”
Earlier, Leader of the group, Sunday Onyewonsa, called
for a security summit that will fashion out solutions to
challenges facing the region, even as he stressed the
need to declare a state of emergency on Niger Delta
roads.
Onyewonsa called on the Deputy President of the Senate
to prevail on the Federal Government to drop the planned scrapping of the Amnesty Programme, adding that it should be overhauled to run through to the end of the present administration.


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