Alleged Marginalisation: Niger Delta Group Threatens Showdown With FG Over Appointments Into Amnesty Programme

Protesters Carry placard and banners during a June 12 democracy day rally in Abuja. Photo: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuter.

The Niger Delta Volunteers for Good Governance (NDVFGG) has threatened a breach of public peace to register its protest over perceived marginalisation of Edo and Delta States in the appointment of principal officers into the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP). The NDVFGG vowed to mobilise for “a total lock down of economic activities” within the Niger Delta region.
In a statement on Tuesday by its national president, Ben Bowei, a.k.a Lord Mayor 1 of Niger Delta, and coordinators from Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Ondo States, a copy of which was made available to newsmen in Benin, the group further condemned the planned winding down of the PAP by the Federal Government, describing it as untimely. It suggested that instead, the government should re-strategise with a view to accomplishing the spirit of the initiators of the programme considering its achievements so far.
While it frowned at the neglect of Edo and Delta States in the appointment of a coordinator for the programme, and other principal officers since its inception, the group further alleged that outside denials of the states in the appointment of principal officers, applicants from the two states for vocational trainings and scholarship have been rejected several times.
According to the statement, “The Niger Delta Volunteers for Good Governance (NDVFGG) has observed that there has been a deliberate neglect of qualified indigenes of Edo and Delta States in the area of appointment as co-ordinator and/or other principal staffs in the Presidential Amnesty Program office from inception till date.
“It is our collective resolution that the above-listed states have been totally neglected by the Federal Government in the scheme of things, especially in the area of appointment in the PAP office since the disarmament in 2009.
“It is also a truism that the [affected] states have also suffered similar fate in the area of reintegration and empowerment contrary to the spirit and letters of the Presidential Amnesty Program as constituted by His Excellency, Late Former President Musa Yar’Adua in 2009.
“The marginalisation of these states has left a distasteful taste in the mouths of the ex-agitators and impacted communities because delegates who applied for vocational training in the program are often rejected, and the same position applies to those who applied for scholarship to acquire higher education at the tertiary level.
“As a matter of fact, such persons are extorted and not given equal opportunities and a level-playing field by the officer representing the government. For this, the Niger Delta Volunteers for Good Governance is collaborating with sister organisations in setting out modalities to ensure there is equity, fairness, transparency, and justice in the composition of the new board, and the distribution of positions to reflect effective and equal participation in the office; otherwise, it will call for a total lock-down of economic activities within the Niger Delta region which may also lead to breach of public peace to press home our demands”.
Consequently, the group called on the federal government “to, as a matter of urgency, consider the plights of these states in order to forestall breakdown of law and order, and breach of the peace in line with true intents and letters of the PAP agreement. A stitch in time saves nine”.

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