Call To Scrap Amnesty Programme: Group Cautions Buhari On Emami's Advice
…Says Itsekiri Youth Leader Inconsequential In Niger Delta Struggle
SAN FRANCISCO, May 05, (THEWILL) – A Niger Delta group, Meinbutus Federated Communities, has cautioned the President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, to be careful of the advice of an Itsekiri Youth Leader, Ayiri Emami, on scrapping the Amnesty Programme, so as not to take irrational decision that could endanger the relative peace in the Niger Delta region.
Emami, had few weeks ago, called on Buhari to scrap the amnesty programme which he described as a waste of public funds and conduit pipe for fleecing the nation’s wealth.
Emami urged Buhari to stop paying ex-militants their monthly stipends and channel the funds into development of the Niger Delta region on assumption of office.
But reacting on Tuesday in a statement issued in Warri, Delta State, the group cautioned Buhari to be careful of taking advice from ‘sycophantic characters’ such as Emami, whom they described as nothing but friends of “Any Government in Power” (AGIP).
The group said that Emami who had benefited so much from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led government through James Ibori, former governor of the state as well as the incumbent Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, could not have been the one calling for the scrapping of the amnesty programme if not for sheer mischief and display of ethnic hatred he has been nursing over the years for the Ijaws.
The group said it is unfortunate that Emami, in his bid to continue his prolong hatred for the Ijaws, moment after PDP failed to win the Presidential election, reportedly defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his first assignment was to carry out a campaign against the amnesty programme.
The group added that such persons should be rejected by the APC, if the party must make genuine progress because, according to the group, he (Emami) “lacks integrity and principle”.
The group described Emami as inconsequential in the Niger Delta struggle and as such has no justification for calling for the scrapping of the amnesty programme which was designed as a way of engendering peace in the region.
The group said it was mischievous and a blatant display of ethnic hatred against the Ijaw people for Emami to allege that the Ijaws were the sole beneficiaries of the amnesty programme, adding that Itsekiris also benefited from the programme despite the fact that they were not part of the Niger Delta struggle.
According to the group, Emami was only promoted by the government of Delta State under the leadership of James Ibori and Emmanuel Uduaghan to benefit from the efforts of those who fought for the Niger-Delta people, adding that he is only reaping what he did not sow.
The group said Emami is not a Niger-Delta activist as he often claims but a mere economic beneficiary of the Niger-Delta struggle which, the group said, he neither supported nor worked for.
It therefore called on Buhari to disregard him saying he is a sycophantic character who lacks integrity and principles to discredit the amnesty programme.
“We call on President Elect, General Buhari, to completely disregard the call by Ayiri to stop the amnesty programme as he (Ayiri) is inconsequential and not a factor in the Niger-Delta struggle,” the group said, adding “We know those who matter in the region.”
The statement read: “The attention of Meinbutus Federated communities, Warri, Delta State has been drawn to a publication in the Vanguard newspaper of April 29, 2015 and also published in several print and online media by Chief Ayiri Emami calling for the scrapping of the Presidential Amnesty programme in opposition to the call for the sustenance of the programme by the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Worldwide.
“The Meinbutus Federated communities as one of the foremost Niger-Delta organizations which started the Niger Delta struggle that culminated in the granting of amnesty to agitators is constrained to react to the statement by Ayiri Emami.
“Contrary to Emami's assertion, the presidential amnesty programme has been a massive success to both government and communities of the Niger Delta region.
“Besides the massive increase in oil revenue as a result of the programme, a lot of youths and ex-agitators who are beneficiaries of the programme have been trained in different areas of specialisation, both in Nigeria and abroad.
“Many of these youths would not have had the training opportunities if not because of the programme . It was mischievous and a display of ethnic hatred therefore for Ayiri Emami to allege that the programme is only paying youths of one ethnic group in the Niger-Delta.
“This is once again demonstrated Ayiri Emami's hatred for the Ijaw people for obvious reasons. In the first place, the amnesty programme was designed for only ex-agitators in the Niger-Delta. It was not a programme for all comers.”
It recalled that prior to the declaration of amnesty for ex-agitators, Ayiri Emami had called Niger-Delta agitators such as Tompolo, Tom Ateke and others terrorists and called for their arrest just like the way he is doing presently.
“However, upon the declaration of amnesty and when Ayiri and his Itsekiri kinsmen saw the success of the programme, the Itsekiris under the umbrella of the Itsekiri National Youth Council (INYC) started agitating for inclusion of Itsekiri youths despite the fact that they were obviously not entitled to be included in the programme.
“President Jonathan in his usual magnanimity approved 500 (five hundred) slots for Itsekiri youths out of which about 100 are presently doing Masters and Doctorate degrees in the United Kingdom.
“If the amnesty programme is stopped, who would pay the school fees of the Itsekiri beneficiaries in the UK? Would Ayiri pay for them or he wants all Itsekiri youths to be like him!
“We wish to state clearly that Ayiri Emami was neither an ex-militant nor a Niger-Delta activist as he claimed. If he was an ex-militant, we challenge him to name where his militant camp was when the Tompolo's, Ateke, Boaloaf and others were in the trenches.
“He is also not a Niger-Delta activist, but a mere economic beneficiary of the Niger-Delta struggle which he neither supported nor worked for.
“He was only promoted by the government of Delta State under the leadership of James Ibori and Emmanuel Uduaghan to benefit from the efforts of those who fought for the Niger-Delta people. He is only reaping what he did not sow.
“We call on President Elect, General Buhari, to completely disregard the call by Ayiri to stop the amnesty programme as he (Ayiri) is inconsequential and not a factor in the Niger-Delta struggle. We know those who matters in the region.
“General Buhari must also be careful with sycophantic characters such as Ayiri who are nothing but friends of any government in Power (AGIP). It is on record that Ayiri Emami has been in the PDP for the past 16 years and one of the greatest beneficiaries of the PDP government in Delta State and supported the PDP in the presidential election.
“But the moment, PDP failed, he allegedly decamped to the APC. Such persons should be rejected by the APC, if the party must make genuine progress. They lack integrity and principle”.
The statement, which was issued in Warri, was jointly signed by Hon. Andabofa Namah (Olabrakonpre Community), Comrade Turbos Demeteide (Ogbokone Community), Christopher Portua (Bolou Ama Community), Denco Moni (Leader, Meinutus), Charles Mokena.