Niger Delta youth leaders have warned the National Security Adviser (NSA) Major General Mohammed Babagana Monguno (rtd) on the implications of hijacking the management of the Presidential Amnesty Office on the peace and stability in the region.
They noted that mismanagement of the Amnesty Programme could lead to returned of armed restiveness in the oil-producing Niger Delta region.
Reacting to the suspension of Prof. Charles Dokubo, Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, they urged the NSA to liaise with leaders of the Niger Delta region to nominate at least five representatives to the Interim Committee for the Amnesty Office.
Mr Charles Omusuku, a youth leader and renowned Niger Delta activist said yesterday in Yenagoa that the Amnesty Programme was a product of dialogue and consultation and wondered why the NSA was bent on unilaterally taking over the scheme with a view to winding up the scheme.
He said that the plot to hijack the amnesty scheme which was historically run by people of the Niger Delta region was both provocative and unacceptable.
“The history of the amnesty offer was not by coercion but by consultation, dialogue and stakeholders engagement and the ex-militants accepted the offer due to their peaceful disposition and the quest to give peace a chance.
“We urge the President to call the NSA to order and immediately include at least five representatives of the region and appoint a replacement for Prof Charles Dokubo from amongst the Ijaws in the Niger Delta.
“We want the president to wade in and convene a stakeholders’ engagement with Ijaws led by Bayelsa Governor, Senator Douye Diri, leader of Ijaw Elders Consultative Forum Chief T.K Okoriba to chart a way forward,” Omusuku said.
Also Pastor Olayinka Jude-Tiedor, National President, Niger Delta Youth Coalition for Peace and Process noted that youths from the region were watching developments in the Amnesty Office with keen interest.
He said that the development had affected the payment of January and February stipends for ex-militants under the amnesty scheme.
Jude-Tiedor advised the NSA to desist from further unilateral interference in the Amnesty Programme and adopt the principle of engaging with stakeholders.
“The NSA has no moral right to be a judge in his own matter, the NSA is fingered in most of the petitions against Dokubo, because Dokubo was working closely under his supervision and directives.
“We are aware of the stakeholders Monitoring and Evaluation committee set up by Prof Charles Dokubo.
“The committee, during their retreat, came out with mind-blowing discoveries on administration recklessness, especially from the civil servants and channels command.
“From findings it was crystal clear that Dokubo was not in charge of the programme and merely running errands for his boss the NSA, just the way former Coordinator, Paul Boroh, ran the errands until he was no longer comfortable with him and eased him out.
“It will interest the general public to note the so-called Interim Committee has been operating in the backgrounds in the past months.
“So the principle of natural justice should prevail and the President should take the lead in handling the matter to ensure that the fragile peace in the Niger Delta is not further breached. Our position remains that the Amnesty programme holds the key to peace in the region.
“Adopting the military tactics in the Niger Delta failed and will fail again. Is the Nigerian military ready for the looming battle if the Amnesty Programme gets scuttled?” he queried.