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N/Delta Amnesty, A Huge Success, Abatemi-Usman Insists

By Michael Jegede

Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta affairs, Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, has reiterated his support for the Niger Delta amnesty programme as being implemented by the present administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to the Senator, the Niger Delta amnesty which was introduced by the Late President, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and implemented by Jonathan, has made significant impact in the restoration of peace in the oil-rich region.

He maintained in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Michael Jegede, that it was unfair for anybody to describe the amnesty programme as one of the conduits used by the
federal government to siphon public funds.

Reacting to a comment by Ahmed Bola Tinubu, former Lagos State Governor and chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), disparaging the amnesty programme, Abatemi-Usman said: “Contrary to the thinking in some quarters, I make bold to say that the Niger Delta amnesty under the direct supervision of Kingsley Kuku, Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs, remains the most successful programme ever run by the federal government.

Even though there were doubts at the initial stage as to whether it was going to yield any fruitful result, today, the amnesty programme coordinated by Kuku, has made a very substantial impact in the return of peace to the Niger Delta, a region that was previously known to be the seal of violence and massive destruction with the activities of the former militants.”

The Senator added that, “Last year September, I led a delegation of the National Assembly on an oversight/inspection visit to the Afrika Union Aviation Academy in Mafikeng and the Flight Training Services in Midrand, South Africa, where some Niger Delta youths were being trained as pilots. From what we saw and experienced during our interaction with the Niger Delta youths, it was clear that the amnesty programme gives us hope. And we could see that the funds allocated to the programme are being judiciously and prudently applied by the Niger Delta amnesty office.”