*Presidential Amnesty Programme major factor for peace in region – PANDEF
The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Quaker Dokubo,has urged to leaders and elders of the Niger Delta region to shun all selfish agenda and advise government in a manner that would bring prosperity to the region and its people.
Dokubo said this on Wednesday in Abuja when members of the national executive committee of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), met with him. He also urged them not to pursue individual interests, but offer him advice and guidance that would benefit the people of the region, the Independent reported.
He noted that issues of the Niger Delta were being addressed by the Federal Government, describing the amnesty programme as work in progress, just as he said it was time for Niger Deltans to put things in order and do the needful.
“We’ve questioned authority, we’ve questioned governance; and now, we also have the time to set our house in order; to do the things that we are supposed to do. I believe that the guidance you are going to give me will only benefit our Niger Delta people; guidance that is not supposed to benefit individuals, but our people, I believe we shall be on course,” he said.
While expressing his determination to chart a new direction for the amnesty programme, Dokubo emphasised the need for qualitative training that would give jobs to beneficiaries, noting that this was the panacea to sustainable peace in the Niger Delta.
Dokubo said, “Without peace, there will be no development, and without development, there will be no peace. For me, that is a cardinal thing. The Niger Delta has gone through difficult period; agitations over marginalisation and the fight for redress of the situation.
“I believe that we have started redressing the situation. This policy did not start with me; it has been there for some time before I took over office. And what I have to do is to drive a new direction; a direction that has been influenced by meetings with people that are better exposed to the situation here.
“I believe we should train people and train them in such a way that they should have qualifications that will give them job, and that is the direction I am going to adopt.
“Contracts on training and all that will not just be trainings; there must be a City and Guides issue that we must address. We must have the capacity to give our delegates some qualification that would enable them to work wherever they could; that will empower them. It’s not only about mass education; it’s qualitative education. Let our people have quality education that will make them stand tall. That is what I want to do,” he stressed.
Earlier, Air Comdr. Idongesit Nkanga (rtd), PANDEF National Chairman, had attributed the peace in the Niger Delta to the amnesty initiative, which he said, was vital for development of the region.