EU MEETING 'LL BOOST POST-AMNESTY PROGRAMME -KUKU

By NBF News
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Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta, Hon. Kingsley Kuku, has expressed the hope that next month's parley with the European Union (EU) and Dutch government officials in Brussels and The Hague would take the post-amnesty programme for former combatants in the Niger Delta to a new level.

The Chief Executive of the Post-Amnesty Office in the Presidency, who spoke to Sunday Sun through his media assistant, Mr Henry Ugbolue, said the strategic meeting is a welcome development as he has been canvassing for international support for the programme.

'Last month, I was at the Chatam House in London as part of the Nigerian government's effort to get international organisations to key into the post-amnesty programme. So I'm particularly excited that our message is being accepted and understood. I look forward with hope and expectation to the meeting,' he said.

Kuku is to meet senior EU officials at the EU Parliament, the EU Commission and the EU Council in Brussels during the five-day two-nation visit to Belgium and The Netherlands.

A programme released by the Rotterdam-based Hope for Niger Delta Campaign (HNDC), which would host Kuku alongside BenTV UK, indicated that the visit will commence on Monday, September 19 and end on Friday, September 23, 2011. In The Netherlands, the Presidential Adviser is expected to meet with senior Dutch government officials, representatives of civil society groups, corporate institutions, experts/consultants as well as undertake a tour of strategic places of interest.

He will also attend an international conference titled: 'Success and Challenges of Nigeria Government Amnesty Programme – Role of International Community' at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in The Hague on September 20.

The visit will be rounded off with an international press conference in The Hague where he will address the media and field questions relating to the post-amnesty programme.

When contacted, the HNDC president/founder, Comrade Sunny Ofehe, said the organization decided to key into the programme because it believes the Nigerian government should not be left alone to fund the post-amnesty programme as it is not the only beneficiary of the peace in the Niger Delta. 'Since the post-amnesty porogramme kicked off, there has been remarkable peace in the once volatile region. Nigeria's oil production has also increased tremendously.

The fact is that the oil multinationals are the first beneficiaries of the conducive environment in the Niger Delta for their operations. So they and their home governments and international organisations need to support the Nigerian government, which has through this programme ensured peace in that region,' Ofehe said.