Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Amnesty Programme of the Federal Government, Chief Kingsley Kuku has urged the international community to partner with Nigeria in ensuring lasting peace to the troubled Niger Delta.
The Presidential Adviser made the appeal in an address to the international community in London on a conference, “Amnesty in the Niger Delta: Sustaining Peace and Surmounting Challenges” held weekend at Chatham House and Holiday Inn.
Amanda Epe who was at the conference reports that Kuku spoke about the positive impact the Amnesty 2009 programme has had in the region, increase for the national oil production revenue, as well as the overall impact it has had in the global market.
The amnesty programme has benefited the production of 2.6 million barrels a day, the highest recorded since 2007, whereby it plummeted from 2.4m bpd to 700,000 in 2008 due to armed agitation.
“During that year around 1,000 persons lost their lives” Kingsley posited the underlying issue of the Niger Delta indigenes taking precedence over the loss of $20bn in 2008.
Ex-militants have been granted academic scholarships and vocational training internationally in countries including Poland, U.S.A, South Africa and Malaysia,” he said.
Kuku said they are being monitored regularly overseas and in partnership with immigration authorities in these countries to see that these privileged trainees return to Nigeria after their training.
He stressed the importance of international partnership with ideas and lessons learnt from best practice, highlighting the DDR programme stories of success in Angola.
Addressing poverty and underdevelopment in the region were his key concerns for lasting peace, as he warned “I cannot say there will be lasting peace”. A man that does not mince his words, he pointed out that this Presidency is radically changing the system, eliminating corruption on the banking reforms ….and informing the house of the change brought about by the newly elected administration.
He continued to discuss the importance of the relationship between Britain and Nigeria, as a former colony and strong allies.
He reiterated the host countries denial of giving visas to ex-militant trainees, yet contradictory they are concerned with peace in the Niger Delta for their economic interest. Kuku was adamant that he would return in a fortnight for “hard talks” on this agenda.
To consolidate these achievement of the amnesty programme the UN Peacekeeping and AU expertise is sought, however all stakeholders, foreign investors in Nigeria crude oil should feel obliged to support peace and development in the Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole.