Jonathan happy with outcome of Amnesty Programme


President Goodluck Jonathan says the success  of the Nigerian economy should be linked to the relative success of the Amnesty Programme for repentant restive youths of the Niger Delta region.

He said oil production now stands between 2.6 million-2.8 million barrels per day.

Jonathan spoke yesterday in Cross Rivers State during the last batch graduation ceremony at the Amnesty Camp in Obubra.

He said the Disarmanent and Demobilisation of the first phase of the Presidential Amnesty programme has closed.

On the effectiveness of the Amnesty initiative, Jonathan noted that in 2008 alone, the nation lost N3 trillion at the peak of the activities of the Niger Delta ex-combatants.

Represented by the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs , Hajia Maina Ibrahim-Kuchi, he stated that the current high oil production was a testimony of the success of the amnesty programme.

He said: "It got to a point where Nigeria's export dwindled to as low as 800, 000 bpd, compared with a targeted 2.2 million bpd for the first quarter of 2009.

"In 2008 alone, it was estimated that Nigeria lost over N3 trillion as a result of militancy in the Niger Delta".

He expressed his administration's determination to restore security of lives and property across the country, saying peace is necessary for development.

"This government is determined and poised to stamp out insecurity in all parts of the country.

"It is when we live in peace as a united nation that we can feed our teaming people, tackle unemployment and confront head-on infrastructural challenges.

"We shall not relent until every part of Nigeria is rid of restiveness and other challenges of insecurity," he said.

4, 149 ex- militants trained at Obubra have been placed in skill acquisition centres and formal education in Nigeria and offshore by the Amnesty Office.

20, 192 ex-militants have so far undergone the disarmament and demobilisation training and being re-integrated into civil society.

Another 6, 616 that have disarmed are waiting undergoing non-violence training in Obubra in the second phase of the amnesty programme.

The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chief Executive Officer of the Amnesty Programme, Hon. Kingsley Kuku, urged the ex-combatants to remain peaceful and hard working to make the most use of the opportunity provided them by the programme.

He also charged the international community to support the programme by granting visas to the ex-militants for overseas training and studies.