Amnesty is Nigerian economy's saving grace - Kuku
The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, has said the Amnesty Programme for Niger Delta militants is an instrument that has saved the nation's economy from collapsing.
Kuku, who is also the Chairman Presidential Committee on Amnesty Programme, said one of the gains of the amnesty programme was an increase in crude oil production, which had made budget financing easy.
Kuku said this in an interview with journalists in Ado Ekiti on Friday, after he was conferred with the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Alumni Association of Ekiti State University Ado Ekiti.
The award ceremony was attended by the governorship candidate for the Peoples Democratic Patry in Ondo State in 2012, Chief Olusola Oke; former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chibudom Nwuche; and Niger Delta activist, Annkio Briggs; among others.
Kuku said the vandalism, kidnapping and other violent crimes that were rife during the armed struggles in the Niger Delta region forced some companies to relocate, and this brought down drastically the country's oil production capacity.
Kuku said, 'The Amnesty programme is on course. It has recorded a huge success. Violence has been stopped to a large extent in the Niger Delta region and this is having positive effects on the economy of the nation.
'Oil production came down to about 700,000 barrels per day before the Amnesty programme was initiated. It was so difficult to finance the budget then because of this.
'But from the midnight of October 4, 2009, when the programme ended, oil production has risen from the 700,000 barrels per day to around 2.5 million barrel per day.'
Kuku stated that the Niger Delta region was now safe, saying the kidnappings in the region were not higher than the former rate, neither was the situation worse than what was happening in other states of the federation.
He added that Nigeria was now safe for investment.
He, therefore, called on investors to come down to Nigeria and invest, saying security could now be guaranteed in the region.
Kuku had earlier promised the authorities of EKSU that he would mobilise his friends to support him in building a Students' Union Building for the university.
The National President of the alumni association, Mr. Bola Ogunlayi, explained that the choice of Kuku for the award was as a result of the fact that he had distinguished himself in his chosen career. He described Kuku, who graduated fm the university in 1995, as 'a former students' leader, who passed through the university and allowed the university to pass through him.'
The Vice Chancellor of EKSU, Prof. Oladipo Aina, said in his speech that Kuku deserved the award. He called on other alumni of the university to rise up and assist in further developing the 30-year-old institution to become one of the best in Africa.
Soremi-led Ogun State Executive and accept the candidacy, for offices zoned to Ogun State, of only the persons nominated at the said congresses for the said offices.'