Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt
THE Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has warned that scrapping the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) will lead to violent agitation in Niger Delta.
A statement by its President, Peter Igbifa, said those benefiting from and sponsoring violence were mounting pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to scrap the programme.
Igbifa urged Buhari and his progressive advisers not to succumb to such pressure.
He said the Presidency should only drop the scheme when it had fulfilled its mandate since it was designed not to last forever.
The IYC chief urged the government to jettison alleged plots to stop Amnesty and float a similar scheme for repentant Boko Haram fighters.
He said: “The full intent of the Amnesty programme has not been realised. At its inception, the Federal Government pledged its commitment to carry out the disarmament, demobilisation, rehabilitation and provide reintegration assistance to ex-militants. These… were major preconditions to address wider development challenges in Niger Delta.
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“Whereas we acknowledge that the disarmament phase was swiftly done, other phases have remained largely unfulfilled. The government should fulfil the promises it made to the repentant militants before thinking of discontinuing the programme, otherwise we will consider it as the highest level of insincerity and a deliberate ploy to play on the people’s intelligence.
“Those advising President Buhari to scrap the programme are lying to him. They are the true enemies of Nigeria who desire a return to violent agitation in the region to enable them profit from bloodshed.
“Niger Delta needs additional interventions and can’t afford to lose any existing empowerment programme. We appeal to President Muhammadu Buhati to appoint a credible coordinator for the PAP to continue with the task of realising other promises contained in the scheme.”