Ijaw Youths under the auspices of the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide have faulted President Muhammadu Buhari for the December deadline set for the termination of the Presidential Amnesty programme for ex-Niger Delta militants.
The IYC said though the Niger Delta people had expected that the amnesty programme would have a terminal date, the decision by Buhari to terminate the programme should include a laid out plan to clean up the Niger Delta environment.
It also said such termination should take into consideration the implementation of the nation’s environment protection report on Ogoni as well as tackle the menace of oil theft in the region.
The IYC in a statement on Sunday by its spokesperson, Mr. Eric Omare, said the council appreciated the fact that the amnesty programme could not continue forever and therefore must have a terminal date.
It said, “However, the questions on the lips of beneficiaries and stakeholders in the Niger Delta region are: what would happen to those that have not been trained at as at December 2015 and those still undergoing training or have not completed their training?
“The termination of the programme would throw up challenges for beneficiaries of the programme who are still undergoing training and are at different levels of their training. The IYC expects the Federal Government to address the fear of these classes of ex-agitators who are in different parts of the world and are worried that their training may be affected if the programme is terminated in December, 2015.
“The case of a substantial number of ex-agitators who have not been trained is even more worrisome. The IYC call on the government to address these challenges before the programme is terminated. The government should streamline projects and programmes in the Niger Delta region to make them more effective.
“The IYC would support any patriotic step of the government to strengthen institutions responsible for the development of the Niger Delta region in order to rapidly develop the region.”
The IYC advised that any effort towards restructuring of developmental institutions and projects should have the input of the people of the region at the heart of the process.
It said the people of Niger Delta must be the ones to decide the shape of developmental institutions in the region.
The group said it had expected President Buhari to address issues such as cleaning up of the Niger Delta environment, implementation of the UNEP report on Ogoni and tackling the menace of oil theft which had greatly contributed to environmental degradation in the Niger Delta.
“We are disappointed that President Buhari failed to address these key issues which are dear to the Niger Delta people in his inaugural speech and thereby raising questions as to his sincerity to fulfill his promises to the Niger Delta people,” the IYC said.