The Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Program was set up in 2010 by former president Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua GCFR. The sole purpose of the programme was to help rehabilitate and reintegrate militants in the Niger Delta who had accepted presidential amnesty given to them. It was on June 25, 2009 that President Yar’Adua proclaimed a 60-day unconditional amnesty period for these militants with the terms of willingness and readiness to surrender their arms, unconditionally renounce militancy and sign an undertaken to this effect.
This whole process went as planned, with a success rate of over 80%. The few that didn’t accept the amnesty offer became loners, lost relevance and withered away. This success paved way for the Amnesty Programme.
The programme has recorded great success, with over 17,000 persons rehabilitated. From vocational training to post graduate scholarships to even training of pilots; the programme successfully transformed these repentant militants to qualified, confident pluses to the society. Along the line, young vibrant non militant youths, stood up and requested a stake in the process, and they were gladly given. No one was left behind in the quest to develop the intellectual capacity of the Niger Delta Region.
With the appointment of Brigidier Gen (Rtd) P.T. Boroh, the coordination of the scheme has improved tremendously. As a retired General, with nopolitical ties, and zero tolerance for failure, Gen Boroh has succeeded in flushing away the political atmosphere in the scheme and brought professionalism into the agency.
From what is on ground now, gone are the days, where politicians will be used to run agencies of such high importance. The amnesty programme is a very strategic scheme that deals with the heart, soul and weapons of a region. It cannot be toyed with. It should not be run by politicians. Lots of factors are responsible for the peaceful coexistence of Nigerians; the proper handling of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme is one.
Mene Lube, a socio-political commentator sent in this piece from Delta State via [email protected]