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Reps urge Buhari to appoint substantive head for Amnesty programme

The House of Representatives has urged President, Muhammadu Buhari to, without delay, appoint a substantive Coordinator for the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

Motion to this effect was moved by Hon Preye Influence Oseke (PDP-Bayelsa).

The House adopted his motion and prayers, and urged “the House Committee on National Security to interface with relevant agencies of government in ensuring that a substantive Coordinator for the Presidential Amnesty Programme for the Niger Delta region is urgently appointed in order to reduce the already-growing tension in the region”.

The House also urged the National Security Adviser to the President and the Chief of Defence Staff, as a matter of urgent national security concern, to advise the President to appoint a Coordinator for the Presidential Amnesty Programme for the Niger Delta region with a clear mandate to optimally actualise the objectives of the programme, thus bringing it to a successful conclusion like other disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programmes in other parts of the world.”

It would be recalled that the Amnesty Programme was set by Late President Umaru Yar’Adua on Friday the 25th day of June 2009 to disarm, demobilise and reintegrate armed militants into communities with benefits such as opportunities in education as well as financial stipends for those who surrender beto peace.

Hon Influence had in his motion regretted that“the Presidential programme has not been able to achieve its ultimate objective of reintegrating all ex-agitators as originally envisioned”, noting that ” the absence of a substantive Coordinator for the Programme is creating a vacuum that makes it difficult for the programme to be managed meaningfully, transparently and brought to a logical end”.

He expressed concern that “since Friday 28th February 2020”, there is no substantive head appointed to run the agency.

According to him, “the erstwhile Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Professor Charles Quaker Dokubo was suspended from office by the President, on the heels of numerous allegations and petitions surrounding the Presidential Amnesty Programme which prompted the National Security Adviser (NSA) to set up a Technical Committee to look into the activities of the programme.”

The lawmaker expressed worry that “the Presidential Amnesty Programme‘s inability to meet its mandate has culminated in several civil disorders including the blocking of the EastWest Road by ex-agitators at different times”.

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