Extend Niger Delta Amnesty Programme To North-East – Savannah Centre Conference

Participants at the just-concluded two-day post-election conference on security and governance, organised by the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development have come up with a 25-point recommendation for consideration by the incoming government of President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari.

Prominent among the recommendations was the call for the incoming government to replicate the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme which, it said, succeeded in addressing the issue of militancy, violence and human resource development and stabilised crude oil and gas production, in the northeast and other parts of the country to fight youth unemployment and restiveness.

“The conference observed that the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme has succeeded in not only addressing the issue of militancy, violence and human resource development in the Niger Delta region, but also stabilising crude oil and gas production.

“In view of the success of the programme, it is suggested that the model, particularly the human resource and capital development, should be extended to north east region and other parts of the country to tackle the challenge of huge youth unemployment and restiveness which are the precursors to violence and insecurity,” it stated.

Other recommendations of the conference contained in the communiqué included recognising the need for security shift from military-centred to military-civilian centred. It called on all the security organs to play their pivotal roles in protecting citizens’ lives and property, as well as protecting them from fear and physical harm.

It affirmed the primacy of developing integrated comprehensive national security policies, addressing the major military and human security concerns, emphasize the efficacy of adopting, nurturing, developing, consolidating and strengthening bilateral and multilateral relations with Nigeria’s neighbours by evolving strategic and tactical, military, socio-economic and political cooperation, particularly with Mali, Cameroon and Chad in combating Boko Haram terrorists.

The communiqué recommended the need to redress the current communication deficit by improving on information sharing by the defence and security establishments, on a need to know basis with stakeholders and the citizenry.

Also, the conference recommended that member-states of the Lake Chad Basin Commission must as a matter of priority support the operational effectiveness of the Multinational Joint Security Task Force and quickly conclude the ongoing negotiations on the legal status and operational modalities of the task force. This, it said, is in view of the high level of the vulnerability of the Lake Chad region, which is currently compounded by the Boko Haram insurgency.

The conference expressed concern that the Office of the National Security Adviser has been saddled with wide-ranging responsibilities which should be appropriately handled by relevant agencies. While acknowledging the efforts of the NSA in pioneering initiatives and developing policy and operational framework documents to enhance effective and efficient security and defence service delivery, it said NSA should properly enlist and engage other relevant agencies and stakeholders in implementing these laudable initiatives and wide-ranging responsibilities encapsulated in the document.

The conference which lamented the carnage, devastations and displacements which were inflicted upon many innocent Nigerians by the Boko Haram in the North-East region, recommended the setting up of a special economic programme for the affected States of the North-East region, focusing particularly on issues of rehabilitation, resettlement of the people and reconstruction of affected infrastructures.

The conference recommended that the victims of Boko Haram terrorism and insurgency should be compensated by the Nigerian State and advised against the proliferation of the institutions of State with overlapping functions.

Other recommendations include reform of the mandate and structure of Federal Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission, e.g. fixing remuneration of public officers, innovative programme of the Federal Inland Revenue Service to generate more revenue must continue and the mining of solid mineral resources for State development.

The conference also recommended devising a system for States to account for monthly allocation before collecting the next month’s allocation, ensuring that oil bunkering is eradicated by encouraging artisanal refinery and a discussion of the national cake in terms of what are the ingredients to bake the cake, where the ingredients comes from and who bakes the cake, who shares the cake, who gets what and in what percentage.

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