A coalition of Civil Society Organisations under the umbrella of Peace for Niger Delta (PND) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a permanent head for the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) before the full implementation of the recently signed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) by 2022.
It added that a permanent head would play an intermediary role between the government and ex-agitators as well as advocate for their economic wellbeing.
Douglas Charles, who spoke on behalf of the group in a press conference held in Abuja, noted that the appointment of a permanent head became necessary in order to sustain peace in the Niger Delta region, adding that some ex-agitators have started asking questions over a perceived lack of attention on them.
Charles, who called for regular payment of stipends and monies for training and entrepreneurship programs of ex-agitators, said, that was the only way to lift them out of dependency and enable them become employers of labour.
The group also called on the president to restore the mandate of the Amnesty Programme to its original intent and take service to the Niger Delta where the ex-agitators reside.
“Mr President’s historic signing of the PIA is a welcome development for the oil sector and a gateway to transforming the region. A new head of the PAP on permanent appointment would help the ex-agitators break away from the fetters of dependency and crime.
“The job of the PAP is to transform ex-agitators into entrepreneurs and/or employable citizens who will become net contributors to the economy of the region and the country through effective collaboration with relevant public and private institutions and state governments in the region.,” the group said.