REVEAL! WHY THE AMNESTY PROGRAMME IS CLOUDY
Mr President: THE PRESIDENTIAL AMNESTY PROGRAMME (PAP) did not fail, but it seems to be failing. When on the 13, 14 and 15 of May 2009, there was bombardment of Oporoza community in Gbaramatu clan of Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State. Late President Musa Yar’Adua had two versions of one report on his desk. First was to the effect that the bombardment will silent the militants of the Niger Delta. And the second was that they could be Dialogged with using the Odili model of Rivers State, except that in this arrangement, there will be no buy back of arms.
“All attempts to reach the President while the bombardment continued failed. The Vice President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan was also out of the country. So, Oporoza fell. And as usual of all military attacks, life and property suffered. There was collateral damage. However, the military recommendation of attack on the militants seems to have worked. But, barely few days after the Oporoza attack, major oil pipe lines Criss crossing the Niger Delta belly to the hinterland were blown up. So much so that oil production Plummeted below 800,000bpd from 2million bpd.
Sensing the long run effect of damage to the economy, life and property, the President proclaimed an AMNESTY to the militants on arms. The proclamation was between June 25 2009 and October 4th 2009 within which all militants must embrace the AMNESTY. so it came to pass.
Major General Godwin Abbe was it’s first Chairman. Honourable Kingsley Kuku took over at the end of the PRESIDENTIAL AMNESTY PROCLAMATION PANEL. Hon Kuku was in office till 2015 when President Jonathan left office. President Buhari appointed Brigadier General Paul Boroh, (rtd) but sacked him eventually. The President thereafter replaced Boroh with Professor Quacker Dokubo and as usual, have sacked him.
What exactly is the problem? Is the problem with the appointing authority or the appointed. If a military General cannot do it successfully and the trial of a Professor is also seen to have failed, who else is best fitted for the job?
This is where i believe the problem is located in the appointing authority. When it started with Hon Kuku, there were no parameters on which it could be measured. But, what could be a benchmark upon which success can be gauged is the number of beneficiaries and the integration process. In all, about 30,000 ex militants were programmed into it and were to be demobilized, reoriented, train the trainables and reintegrate them back into civil society. This picture clearly shows that the program is an inelastic activity. However, it’s been running as an elastic program thereby attracting failures and leakages, perhaps prompted largely by top officials within the appointing authority since measurements are weak and monitoring and evaluation is poorly applied. In the event of perceived corruption, the sharing formula is usually vertical and until there are allegations or petitions, Mr President, the big Boss is not aware. This inadvertently makes the sacking of presiding officers easily accomplished. Those who collude with the coordinators from the top office would usually assure them of safety, but when the big hammer is wielded, they vamoose into tin air.
The program is failing because it is operated as an elastic affair. Creating the feelings amongst many that it could accommodate anything Niger Delta and as if it is another developmental agency without boundary. This agency is responsible for only 30,000 beneficiaries and only so. The Niger Delta is home to over 20.000,000 youth, yet this agency is focused on 30,000 youth only. That is what makes it inelastic.
The President therefore require a seasoned technocrat, preferably at the level of a retired permanent Secretary with the right administrative skills on details. A no nonsense evaluator on the mirror. One who could be prepared to put in his or her resignation letter if top officials of the presidency other than the President wants them to roll up the sleeve, a recurring decimal you may argue. If out of 30,000 youth, and within the space of 10 years, only 16,000 youth have been reintegrated IE an average of 1,600 youth per year, then it is a failing agency. Either because it is not properly funded or that funds are used for purposes other than what they are mainly set out for.
“Without fear or favour I recommend either Dr Koripamo Agary or Ambassador Godknows Igali. People who can throw in the towel if there is arm twisting. The two are great fellows of the Niger Delta, well known to all the militants, played very key or visible roles from inception, speaks the language of the militants, have clean records amongst the Niger Delta people, rose in their chosen career to the pinnacle, all served at the Federal level and retired without blemishes as permanent Secretaries. The AMNESTY OFFICE just need some one who can apply cash to figure and remain focused.
“The President of the country shouldn’t be misled to believe that the Niger Delta does not have the right persons to run her affairs. Be it the NDDC or the PAP. We, the Niger Delta people are Republicans, we argue, we quarrel, we shout sometimes before the wolf appears, we petition and allege until it is proven otherwise, however we have knowledgeable fellows in abundance capable of doing it as expected.
In conclusion, Mr President should also direct top officials in his office to leave our office holders alone. They do extort a lot from our people under the pretence of “the President said” knowing fully well that many will not be able to reach you in person.
Chairman, Niger Delta Nationalities Forum.