Mkpoikana Udoma 01 April 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – A group known as Southern Youth Foundation, SYF, has called on the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to hasten the next phase of the amnesty programme for cultists in the state in other to dissuade the repentant youths from going back to crime.
The youth group said repentant cultists in the state are becoming impatient due to lack of clear cut plans for them from the government after surrendering their arms.
National President of the SYF, Mr. Emeni Ibe, speaking during the inauguration of Rivers State Chapter of the group in Port Harcourt, said the next phase of the programme should be rehabilitation of the repentant youths, which would include skill acquisition, educational and vocational training of the repentant youths as well as payment of stipends in a bid to discourage the youths from going back into cultism.
Ibe, who explained that the SYF cuts across 17 states that makes up southern part of the country, said the youth group is readily willing to work with the state government to address the renewed issue of kidnapping, robbery and cultism in the state.
He, however, commended Governor Wike for initiating the state amnesty programme, and vow that the group would resist attempts by other sections of the country to make the southerners second class citizens in the country, but would promote unity between northern and southern youths.
“The state amnesty programme is a beautiful idea that has brought peace in the state; We are urging the youths to key in to the amnesty programme and turn a new leaf to bring about peace in the state.
“The cultists in Rivers State have submitted their arms, now they are waiting for rehabilitation and implementation of the next phase of the amnesty programme. So we believe the state government now should do their own part of the obligation by investing in the amnesty programme to bring a lasting peace in the state.
“We are calling on the state government to hasten the next phase of the amnesty in the state because the patience of our youths can no longer be guaranteed. Because if nothing is done, the boys would go back into the creeks. I am afraid if the state government does not take the bull by the horns to implement the next phase, what will happen will not be desirable and we don’t pray for such.
“The next phase would be the rehabilitation, skill acquisition, educational training and stipends since they have dropped arms,” Emeni Ibe said.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the President on Student and Youth Affairs, Mr. Nasir Adhama, urged the newly-inaugurated Rivers State executive of the SYF not to see the opportunity as a money making venture but as a call to serve humanity.
Adhama represented by the President of Rivers Youth Federation, Mr. Adokiye Mujiton, said, “As you have been appointed, selected or elected to take charge of SYF in Rivers State, I want you to see it as a rear privileged to serve humanity.
“I also urge you to collaborate with the government and the security agencies to ensure peace in the state.”
A highpoint of the event was the presentation of certificate of Award to the Rivers State Commissioner of Police and the State Director of State Security Service, as well as the inauguration of Mr. Grant Ogonor as the chairman of Rivers State Chapter of SYF along with eight others, as members of the state executive council.