JONATHAN COMMITTED TO REINTEGRATION OF EX-MILITANTS -ALAIBE
Former Special Adviser to the president on Niger Delta and governorship candidate of the Labour Party in Bayelsa State in the forthcoming elections, Mr. Timi Alaibe said yesterday that the Federal Government was committed to the successful implementation of the amnesty programme and commended President Goodluck Jonathan's choice of Mr. Kinsley Kuku as his successor.
Alaibe said the foundation for the amnesty had been firmly laid with the achievement made so far and expressed the conviction that the government would build on that foundation to ensure the realization of the overall goals.
Speaking during a brief handover ceremony in Abuja, Alaibe, who also doubled as the head of the Amnesty Office before his resignation last year to seek for election as the governor of Bayelsa State noted that the most crucial aspect of the programme was the reintegration of the former militants and said the Federal Government was already investing in that direction.
According to him, over 12,000 ex-militants had gone through the demobilization process before his disengagement, adding that 6,166 others, who joined last December would also have to go through the demobilization and reintegration processes.
'I believe that the pathway to success has been cleared, what is remaining is the implementation and this is the goal the Federal Government is investing in,' he stated.
According to him, Jonathan took the right step by appointing Mr. Kuku ,who had been involved in the disarmament process from the outset as the new Special Adviser on Niger Delta and head of Amnesty Office.
Describing Kuku as a round peg in a round hole, Alaibe said he had all it takes to drive the programme of reintegrating those who had once carried arms against the system, given his antecedents as 'a sound lawyer who had been a legislator and had worked at various times in peace and conflict resolution issues.'
'He has been part of the team from the beginning. He has been involved with the Niger Delta struggles at intellectual level.
When we started the disarmament process, he was among those who worked with me,' he said, even as he insisted that the amnesty programme was one of the most efficiently prosecuted government programmes.
Responding, Kuku commended Alaibe for the progress recorded in the exercise while he was at the helm and pledged to ensure the purpose of the programme was realized.