INC, Presidential c’ttee urge militants to accept amnesty

Vanguard News - Emma Amaize

WARRI—THE Ijaw National Congress (INC) and Presidential Committee on Amnesty yesterday called for a halt to militancy in the Niger-Delta, saying militants have eloquently made the point on marginalization and deprivation of the region and now was the time for peace.

The National President of the INC, Dr. Atuboyedia Obianime, who was represented by Mr. Eddy Akangbou and the head of publicity and liaison sub-committee of the Presidential Panel on Amnesty and Disarmament of Militants, Dr. Timiebi Koripamo-Agary, stated this yesterday in Warri at the Annual Lecture/Town Hall meeting of Ijaw Media Forum.

President of IMF, Elder Asu Beks, in his welcome address, also said militants have accepted the amnesty programme, but called on the Federal Government to show sincerity in the scheme by commencing development of the region.

Adding that N10 billion for the execution of the disarmament programme has not been released to the committee.

The INC boss said the organization agreed with amnesty deal because what the Ijaw man wanted was freedom, adding that its quarrel was that there was no concrete amnesty programme by the federal government.

He advised the government to come out with a feasible development programme for the region and commence immediate action.

On her part, Dr. Koripamo-Agary said amnesty in itself could not address the fundamental issues, such as true federalism, infrastructural development, economic and social problems, environmental pollution and degradation, justice and equity and participation in the oil and gas businesses, which led to the Niger-Delta struggle, but was a basic step in the emancipation of the region.

Dr. Koripamo-Agary, who stated his while delivering a lecture, entitled, “Niger-Delta crisis: The imperative of a post-amnesty deal”, said accepting amnesty was not a sign of weakness/guilt but a basis of negotiation with the rest of the country.

“Accepting the amnesty does not mean we are criminals or have been defeated, amnesty is in a sense, a realization by the rest of the country that the solution to the Niger-Delta crisis cannot be a military one and cannot be achieved by the force of arms.

“In granting “… amnesty and unconditional pardon to all persons who have directly or indirectly, participated in the commission of offences associated with militant activities in the Niger-Delta. President Umaru Yar’Adua acknowledged these points when he said in the Declaration ‘…Government realizes that many of the militants are able bodied youths whose energies could be harnessed for the development of the Niger-Delta and the nation at large.

“My central thesis is that peace must be secured before there can be any ‘post amnesty deal’. This, however, does not stop us from theorizing, positing programmes and intellectualizing on the way forward but the immediate oxygen we need is peace.

“So, we must collectively embrace the amnesty programme as a basic step in the emancipation of the region”.
3 Responses for “INC, Presidential c’ttee urge militants to accept amnesty”

Dr. Emmanuel Franklyne Ogbunwezeh says:
September 18, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Anyone has a right to be stupid, but the Nigeria government is callous. The so called amnesty for Niger Delta militants is a repackaged evasion of its responsibilities. I wonder who needs amnesty. Is it the Niger Deltans who have suffered ecological collapse at the instance of the unethical business practices of the oil companies that have allies in our government; or is it the government that allows such a decimation of its people?
The amnesty being touted is a piece of manipulative propaganda aimed at calming down those agitating for change, so that the government could quietly go back to its plunder of the Niger Delta in concert with the Multi-nationals.
The earlier sincere solutions are sought to the Niger delta, the better for all of us. It is only a criminally irresponsible government that could abide the kind of plunder and destruction being perpetrated on the Niger Delta.


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