EC Votes 190m Euros for Pos-Amnesty Programme

2009-10-19
THISDAY NEWSPAPER - George Oji

EC Votes 190m Euros for Post-Amnesty Programme

The amnesty offered Niger Delta militants by the Federal Government was weekend given fillip as the European Union (EC), in showing its support for its success said it had voted €190 million for the post amnesty programme.
Director General of EC, Mr. Stefano Manservisi, who made this disclosure in Abuja during an interactive session with newsmen, also described the success recorded by the amnesty programme as a turning point in the history of Nigeria.
Manservisi, whose visit to Abuja was the first in his career, is also in charge of the Commission’s relations with African, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) countries.
According to him, “I will say that my visit is particularly lucky in the sense that it is the very moment the amnesty is taking shape and producing successful results. I just met with the Minister of the Niger Delta and started talking how we can in partnership help in producing results and help in implementing this strategy.
“I will like to on behalf of the EC welcome the initial success of the amnesty offered by President Yar’Adua is producing. This is indeed a very important turning point and we welcome it very much. We as EC will urge the government of Nigeria to continue the efforts of sustainable rehabilitation and reintegration of the former militants, including the support of the communities. It is not only a question of implementing the amnesty but preparing an integrated development plan for the Niger Delta. We have set aside €190 million to support this process.”
Manservisi also revealed that the EC had adopted a new relationship with its development partners, particularly in African and other developing countries, noting that the Commission’s relationship had changed from “donorship” to partnership.
“We have to change the way we are working from ‘donorship’ to partnership and if there is one case in Africa where we have to do it and in a very practical way it is in Nigeria. Therefore, it is a joint vision of working out the challenges and working out common challenges to tackle these challenges. So, it is a way to improve and enhance our relationship between the EC and Nigeria.
“We have set aside €677 million to support the reforms and our progressions with Nigeria. But I will like to underline in particular the political importance of this document because it is a way to enhance our relations. So, this is the second reason I would want to have some discussions with the Nigerian government,” Manservisi said.
The amnesty programme, offered in June, is a major initiative of the government to tackle the conflict in the Niger Delta, which has cost the country billions in oil revenue.
Oil production had, however, picked up recently following the success of the amnesty programme.
Just last month, the government said the country’s crude oil reserves stood at N37 billion barrels. At the height of the crisis, according to Petroleum Resources Minister Rilwanu Lukman, it dropped to N32 billion barrels.

 

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