Tracking___Elder statesman and former Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, yesterday cautioned the Federal Government against alleged plans to scrap the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) established by the government for ex-militants in the Niger Delta region.
This was as Clark, a leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) warned that scrapping the programme could truncate the “fragile peace” in the region, which hosts multinational oil exploration and production companies, contributing nearly 95 per cent of revenue accruing to the country.
The amnesty programme was established in 2009 by a Presidential Proclamation, granting amnesty to the militants, who were agitating for resource control and disrupting oil and gas operations and production activities in the Niger Delta region.
Clark further alleged that he had it on good authority that the Federal Government was planning to scrap the programme by the end of this year, urging the government to tread cautiously on Niger Delta affairs and avoid taking actions that could become counterproductive.
He noted: “I have cause to advise or warn the Federal Government to desist from anything that will truncate the fragile peace that we have in the Niger Delta region. I am saying this because yesterday, rumours were rife that the four-man investigative panel headed by Ambassador A. A. Lawal, set up by the Federal Government through the Office of the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Mohammed Monguno (rtd) to look into the activities of the Presidential Amnesty Programme has recommended the scrapping of the programme in December, this year.
“If this is true, it will be an epic example of what we say in local parlance trouble dey sleep, yanga go wake am. This is not a threat; it is stating the obvious of what will actually happen.
“When I got this information yesterday my temper was high because how can a region which contributes so much to the economic growth, and by extension, political and social growth of the country be treated with so much disdain and spite. I recall the sacrifices some of us made before a compromise of setting up the Presidential Amnesty Programme was arrived at.”
Clark, however, recalled that the PAP had had two chief executives in the last five years who were both kicked out in controversial circumstances following allegations of corruption.