Why Presidential Amnesty Programme failed to address fundamentals of the Niger Delta struggle – INC Vice President

Why Presidential Amnesty Programme failed to address fundamentals of the Niger Delta struggle - INC Vice Chairman 

Why Presidential Amnesty Programme failed to address fundamentals of the Niger Delta struggle – INC Vice President 

…Calls for resource control and ownership

Alabo Nengi James, the 2nd National Vice President, Ijaw National Congress (INC) on Tuesday, November 29, 2022, during the Niger Delta Economic Discourse Series organized by the GbaramatuVoice Newspaper in Warri, Delta state, stated that the Presidential Amnesty Programme failed to address the fundamentals of the Niger Delta struggle because it was poorly handled by military elements who lacked capacity for mediation.

He also noted that stakeholders were not given enough opportunities through Post Amnesty Conference to discuss the best ways to implementing the Amnesty Programme.

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According to him, the amnesty programme is a presidential policy that was executed with militarization rather than with civilianization. The Presidential Amnesty office lacks the personnel with the requisite skill sets to manage the amnesty programme.

In his words, “the presidential amnesty proclamation did not factor-in mediation and conflict transformation. This is sequel to poor strategic conflict assessment of the Niger Delta struggle. Amnesty is no instrument for conflict resolution or conflict management. Amnesty is a general pardon of offence by government. It is a deliberate overlooking of offenses against a government. It is a pardon to release criminally culpable persons from the just punishment of the Law.”

Giving details, the prominent Ijaw leader also observed that late President set up Amnesty Administration Team for the 1st time and was headed by Rtd. General Godwin Abbe to manage the Presidential Amnesty Program. In addition, the Federal Government as part of the Amnesty package announced a “Marshal Plan” for the Niger Delta in October 2009. After the demise of Late Yar’adua, his successor President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan disbanded the Presidential Amnesty Committee headed by Rtd. Gen. Godwin Abbe, and appointed Chief Timi Alaibe as Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta matters, to be in charge of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

As to the way forward, the Ijaw leader said that a negotiation team should be constituted to negotiate with the Federal Government on how best to implement the marshal plan for the rapid development of the region.

He also opined that a high powered delegation be sent to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria: for the purpose of implementing the core recommendations of the Ledium Mitee Presidential Technical Committee on the Niger Delta.

While he suggested that the derivation formula enshrined in section 162 (2) of the 1999 constitution, as amended, be pursued through bipartisan approach from the Revenue mobilization, allocation and fiscal commission, to the presidency.

Alabo Nengi, called on Niger Delta politicians, activists and others of Ijaw extractions to be guided by the provisions of the Kaiama Declaration of December 1998; and focus on the fundamentals of the struggle, inherited from their revolutionary ancestry.

The fundamentals of the struggle according to him, are resource control and ownership.

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