By Mike Odiegwu
Niger Delta ex-militants have called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to drive the development of the region the way he transformed Akwa Ibom State as governor. They also appealed to him to extend his supervisory roles to the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), following alleged corruption in the scheme.
The ex-militants, under the auspices of Ex-Agitators Youth Development Combined (EAYDC) said since its inception, the amnesty programme has been hijacked by non-agitators, who mismanaged resources, leaving only crumbs for the real ex-militants. Members of EAYDC said the injustice in the programme must be addressed, because it has turned out to one of the most corrupt interventionist agencies in the country.
The group, in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, General Tonye Bobo, popularly called Sir T, said the original code prescribed by the United Nations to guide interventionist agencies had been abandoned by the amnesty office. Bobo said non-training of delegates was one of the reasons why the amnesty programme was lagging behind.
He said: “One of the primary aims of the amnesty programme has been defeated, which of course, is the re-integration phase, which has not been fulfilled. This is the cause of the perennial agitations in the region.
The national coordinator said Akpabio would not disappoint the region, as he would deploy his wealth of experience in his new assignment. He said the former governor was competent and would handle his new assignment with passion. He said members of his group would support Akpabio and offer him required assistance in his quest to develop the region.
Bobo said: “We are a grassroots-based organization in the region and will not support anybody or group of people, who wish to sabotage his efforts in the ministry. We will collaborate with all compatriots to work with the minister and his team to actualize the federal government plan for the region.
“We appeal to the general public to give the new minister their maximum support and a chance to actualize his dream for the region. Senator Akpabio is more acquainted with the issues and challenges in the region.”