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Amnesty: Ateke, Osama, others ready to turn in arms and the arrest of Asari Dokubo

By Onukwube Uwanu

Sir: It was with great elation that received yesterday, 23 July, 2009 the positive and sincere intention of Ateke, Fara, Osama Bin Laden, a militant leader in the Niger Delta region amongst two others (militants) who resolved to turn in their arms to the Federal Government of Nigeria as means to embrace FG's offer of amnesty.

The courageous step taken by them to surrender their crates of arms and ammunition is no doubt remarkable, praiseworthy and strategic. For one, the perennial “Oil War” as it is usually called, which is characterized by bombardment of oil installations that leads to the shutting in of oil will definitely come to an end. Secondly, the unending abduction of foreign oil expatriates and the like, the running aground of oil vessels belonging to giant oil companies, arm struggle and the destruction of kingdoms and innocent lives as was the case in Gbaramatu Kingdom and widely reported in both electronic, print and web based media outfits will cease to rear its ugly heads. With the mentioned features eliminated in the oil rich region, the billions of naira loss as a result of Niger Delta agitation will be a thing of the past and Nigeria's economy the better for it.

Other militant leaders should take a cue from Osama and turn in their arms while embracing the offer. Having said this, and as a reminder to the powers that be, and in the words of Prince Tonye Princewill, “while peace and harmony were the order of day, there was no meaningful development”. The militants having resolved to embrace and yield their arms to the FG, it is left for President Yar' Adua's administration to accord the region its rightful place in the scheme of things now that peace is about to stay.

On the part of our fathers, uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters etc who man different elective and political posts remember that, there is a lot to do in lifting the standard of living of the Niger Deltans. Niger Delta Development Commission and Ministry of Niger Delta bosses must not relent in upholding and bringing into practical terms the purpose for which they were created.

Unfortunately, this peace deal derivable through amnesty may be stalled by the latest arrest of Alh. Asari Dokubo the then leader of NDPVF at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos by security operatives on arrival from a medical visit to Germany yesterday, 23 July, 2009 if nothing is done to secure his immediate release.

May the resources deposited in the region be a blessing and not a curse to a good and great nation, Nigeria.

Onukwube Uwanu is a social critic, writes in from Elelenwo Port Harcourt