Some Niger Delta Youths Leaders have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a substantive Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme, following the suspension of Prof. Charles Dokubo, without further delay.
The leaders, who made the call in interviews with newsmen in Yenagoa, were reacting to the suspension of Dokubo in different.
They urged the National Security Adviser (NSA) Maj.-Gen. Babagana Mungunu (Rtd.) to ensure that stakeholders from the region were included in the interim committee set up to investigate Dokubo’s tenure.
They also called on the NSA to nominate at least five representatives among the Niger Delta to the committee.
They said that mismanagement of the amnesty programme could lead to return of restiveness to the region, alleging that the current developments could be moved to wind up the scheme.
Mr Charles Omusuku, a Niger Delta activist, said the amnesty programme was a product of dialogue and consultation.
He said the alleged plot to hijack the scheme, which was run by people of the region, was both provocative and unacceptable to them.
“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 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 Gov. Douye Diri, leader of Ijaw Elders Consultative Forum, Chief T. K Okoriba, to chart a way forward,” Omusuku said.
Also, Pastor Olayinka Jude-Tiedor, the National President, Niger Delta Youths Coalition for Peace and Process, said that youths from the region were watching developments in the amnesty office with keen interest.
He said 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 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. He 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 Dokubo.
“The committee, during their retreat, came out with mind-blowing discoveries on the administration’s recklessness, especially from the civil servants and channels command.
“It will interest the general public to know that the so called interim committee has been operating on the background 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 region is not further breached.
“Our position remains that the programme holds the key to peace in the region.
“Adopting the military tactics in the region failed and will fail again,” he said, while calling for a collective effort to ensuring the programme was not scuttled.