Port Harcourt — Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo has urged leaders of Niger Delta ex-agitators to work towards the success of the programme for people in the region to enjoy its gains.
Dokubo warned that the daunting challenges confronting the Niger Delta would not abate until leaders of the region including leaders of the ex-agitators reflect on their background and address the issues.
Speaking in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, at a meeting with 97 leaders of ex-agitators in Phase Two of the Amnesty Programme, Dokubo emphasized on the need for all ex-agitators to key into the objectives for which the programme was to achieve unity of purpose for a better Niger Delta.
The Amnesty boss explained that the objective of the Amnesty Programme remains to maintain peace and security in the Niger Delta and enhance human capital development in the region.
He said the Amnesty Programme is to provide the enabling environment for people in the Niger Delta to key into the programme and achieve development, while urging them to key into the programme and derive benefits of the programme.
According to him, “I believe that wherever we come from, because we are Niger Deltans, we should have one thought: how do we improve the lot of the Niger Delta people. Let our thoughts be what will judge us to be true leaders of our people.
“Look at the Niger Delta and the number of interventionist agencies that have been put in there- NDDC, Ministry of Niger Delta and the Amnesty Programme. No other part of Nigeria has the same number of agencies that deal with issues that we face.
“And if don’t look at our background to address these issues so that we can come out of it as better Nigerians and better Niger Delta people, then we have failed our generation. It is not about struggling over little issues, it is about a bigger picture of where the Niger Delta be in the next ten years.
“If you don’t have this in mind, our children will ask one day that you people said you fought for the Amnesty Programme to be created, in what way has it changed our lives? For me, that is the bigger picture. How can we create a Niger Delta in which people will find jobs in industries that are the mainstay of the economy that are located in our region?
“To be in the right places so that the Niger Delta will be transformed to places like Dubai and all that. That is my bigger picture and I want you to understand how we can attain that. The only way forward is to have a common understanding of the Amnesty Programme in the midst of those who are here. Design a way on how to move the programme forward.”
Dokubo further said that the meeting was to forge a better understanding with leaders of ex-agitators in the Niger Delta towards deepening peace in the region.
“I am here today to address the second phase leaders. Sometimes staying in Abuja cuts me off from those who are leaders of the various phases. And I believe that meeting today will be the closest most of you have gotten to me and also to know by vision and the objective of the Amnesty Programme and how we are going to drive it.
“Without you, there will be no Amnesty Programme. I was appointed to drive a programme that belongs to all of you. That is why I am here; to listen to you. No one has a monopoly of knowledge. But we can get on by learning from the experiences of others to move this programme forward.
“I am here to be better informed and also for you to hear me out what my vision of this programme is all about. So, whatever divisions we have, forget about it and let us face the challenges and how to move this programme forward.
“Let us work together because the Niger Delta problem is bigger than me; it is bigger than all of us here. So, you do not have to like me to work with me to make this programme.”