The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has called on the Federal Government to shelve alleged plans to scrap the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) for ex-agitators in the Niger Delta region.
This comes as he charged people in the region to come up with a new narrative about holding leaders in the region to account.
Senator Omo-Agege spoke in Abuja at the weekend when he played host to a socio-political organization, New Era Forum.
Describing the move as premature and ill-timed, the federal lawmaker said it would truncate the fragile peace in the region.
In recent times there has been a debate for either the scrapping or retention of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, introduced by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2009 for Niger Delta militants who had engaged in the armed struggle for a better deal in the oil-rich region.
Speaking on the matter, Omo-Agege said: “I don’t think that the timing is right for the Amnesty Programme to be scrapped. We have challenges right now in the North East, the ravages of Boko Haram, banditry in North West and North Central. Those are enough challenges already in this country. I don’t believe that this is the time to reawaken the agitations of militancy in the Niger Delta region.
“It is my hope and expectation that the policymakers who are around Mr President will convey this to Mr President that to the extent that there is any such plan at this time, it is premature and ill-timed. That is not to say that this programme must stay in perpetuity. But we don’t believe that the goals set have been completely achieved”.
He urged the group to come up with a new narrative about holding leaders in the region to account.
According to him, leaders in the region have failed, having been unable to judiciously utilise funds released for the development of the region.
“I have been privy to all of the budgetary estimates that were passed both in the Eighth Assembly and in the Ninth Assembly. And all that we are entitled to as a region has been given to us.
“But we have failed Mr President because we have not been able to hold to account those to whom these resources have been entrusted. You don’t expect Mr President moving from community to community to ensure that the fundings made available to us have been judiciously utilised.