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N’Delta leaders: Amnesty programme to end after full integration of beneficiaries

The Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Dixon Milland Dikio (rtd), yesterday, held a crucial meeting in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, with critical stakeholders in the Niger Delta on the future of the programme.

The stakeholders agreed that the PAP could have a terminal date after the full integration of the 30,000 beneficiaries of the programme. The stakeholders included traditional rulers, political leaders, past and present leaders of the Ijaw National Congress and the Ijaw Youth Council. After hours of deliberations, the meeting agreed that PAP cannot run in perpetuity and should have a terminal date subject to the full integration of the beneficiaries.

The meeting also focused on the challenges identified to have bedevilled the programme over the years. Present at the meeting were pioneer President of Ijaw National Congress, Chief Joshua Fumudoh; former Senator from Bayelsa East, Nimi Barigha- Amange; pioneer President of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Dr. Felix Tuodolo; activist and leader, Chief T.k Ogoriba; the President of IYC, Mr. Peter Igbifa; former President of IYC, Mr. Udengs Eradiri; the traditional ruler of Gbarain Ikpetiama Kingdom, HRH King Bubaraye Dakolo, among others.

The stakeholders were unanimous in calling on the Federal Government to ensure that the programme is given the needed financial support to effectively implement the reintegration of the beneficiaries before it finally winds down.

The stakeholders, who thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Col. Dikio as the interim administrator, expressed optimism that with him, the objectives of PAP would be realised.

The stakeholders called on Dikio to adopt drastic measures to address the incidence of rot and corruption in the Amnesty Office by identifying all those who have used the programme as a conduit and relieve them of their positions.

They lamented that the bad eggs in the Amnesty Office have derailed the programme because of their greed and fraudulent activities. The leaders stressed that until the corruption cabal is flushed out, the usual crisis that rocks the PAP will still resurface. While calling for support for Dikio, the stakeholders equally thanked him for embarking on the tour of the region, which they described as a positive indication of his desire to succeed in his critical assignment.

On the issue of reintegration and empowerment, they advised him to consider agriculture as a major component of his plans and also to operationalise the training centres of PAP. In his remarks, Dikio said he decided to convene the stakeholders’ summit to personally interact with the custodians of the region. He said the meeting afforded him insight into the plights of the people and promised to hold similar quarterly engagements in the region. Dikio said the collective agreement that the programme should have a terminal date should be noted by all beneficiaries as it had been a contentious issue among most of them.

The amnesty boss, who solicited sustained support, said with his vision for PAP, all those who are part of it will not be left out. In his goodwill message, Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State, represented by the Commissioner for Ijaw National Affairs, Patrick Erasmus, promised to support Dikio. Also, Ijaw National Leader, Pa Edwin Clark, represented by former Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Ambassador Godknows Igali, said that Dikio has started well and should be encouraged to remain focused.

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