Stakeholders in the Niger Delta have called for the integration of ex-militants as a pre-condition for the termination of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
The leaders comprising traditional rulers, political leaders, past and present officials of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) and the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide reached the decision during a meeting with the interim administrator of the scheme, Col. Milland Dixion Dikio (rtd) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Wednesday.
The leaders insisted that the Federal Government should achieve all conceptualised benefits for PAP before bringing it to an end.
They urged the Federal Government to ensure that the programme was given the needed financial support to execute its reintegration phase so as to bring it to a purposeful end.
The Niger Delta leaders thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Dikio as the interim administrator and expressed optimism that with him the amnesty programme would realise its objectives.
They also called on Dikio to clean sanitize the amnesty office by identifying and firing persons that had used the scheme as a conduit pipe.
In his remarks, an elder statesman and nationalist, Chief Edwin Clark, urged the Federal Government not to rush to end the amnesty programme.
In his remarks, Colonel Dikio said he convened the stakeholders’ summit to interact with the custodians of the region.
He advised ex-agitators not to make protests a culture of pressing for issues in the Niger Delta noting that after 11 years of the programme, the approach in passing out message was not yielding the desired results.
“The Amnesty is not just the programme; there are a lot in the package. The programme does not only accommodate arms bearers alone but also the impacted communities in the region.”
He promised that stakeholders meetings would be held regularly, at least once in a quarter to aggregate the views of the people of the region.