Former Niger Delta militant leaders have requested the Federal Government to extend the terminal date of the Presidential Amnesty Programme in the region to 2019.
The ex-militants, under the aegis of Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative, made the request at a news conference in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, on Tuesday.
The National President, LPCDI, ‘General’ Reuben Wilson, (a.k.a Pastor Reuben) argued that the extension of the programme would provide an ample time for the beneficiaries of the programme studying abroad to conclude their various educational activities.
He also said such a gesture would make time for those who had yet to undergo their various skills acquisition training to commence and conclude before the expiration of the programme.
He also appealed to those he described as “greedy and selfish politicians” to give the Chairman of PAP, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh (retd.), a breathing space to continue with the good and selfless work being done by him as the Amnesty boss.
Wilson said, “We would like to commend President Muhammadu Buhari for extending the Amnesty programme to 2017. We are also appealing to the Federal Government that the terminal date be extended to 2019 to give enough time for the beneficiaries of the programme studying abroad to conclude their various educational programmes. “This will also make time for those who have yet to undergo their various skills acquisition to commence and conclude same before the expiration of the programme.”
He also begged Buhari to extend an olive branch to some of their brothers who were still in the creeks and were willing to embrace the programme.
Wilson condemned the pipeline bombings in Delta and Bayelsa states, advising all concerned to stop such dastardly acts as it would only bring the region back to its dark days and ultimately hinder any form of development in the area.
He added, “We call on all our Niger Delta brothers and sisters to be more patient with President Buhari as he needs more time to carry out his positive developments for the region. As we all know, this can only be achieved in an atmosphere of peace.”
“We hereby encourage militants to embrace peace as it is the most important ingredient for sustainable development. We are also still appealing to Presidency to still take a critical look at the issues of late salary payments or monthly stipends to the amnesty beneficiaries.”
“The delay of these payments is working against the peace we are preaching because these ‘boys’ tend to go into criminality in order to make ends meet due to non-payment of their stipends.”
He expressed total support for the Amnesty boss (Boroh), saying the programme had indeed touched a lot of lives in the region from its inception.
He noted, “We are here to declare our total support for him (Boroh). A lot of our leaders, particularly one of our own, Victor Ebikabowei Ben, popularly known as Boyloaf, have stood firmly by the appointment of Boroh.”
The entire leaders under the LCPDI with its nine coordinators, representing leaders from the nine Niger Delta states, are strongly in support of Boroh. The Amnesty boss has in such a little time piloted the affairs of the programme; he has carried on without fear or favour.
“We believe that given the right atmosphere and time, he will direct the programme to the benefit of all and for the achievement of the development and lasting peace in the Niger Delta region.”
Just recently, the Amnesty programme, under the leadership of Boroh, partnered with the Bio-Resource Centre in Odi to train 100 ex-agitators on agriculture. This is indeed a step in the right direction with the new trend of diversification of the economy.”