Niger Delta youths under the aegis of Ijaw Youth Council have called on the federal government to extend the Presidential Amnesty Programme for ex-militants in the region.
Addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, the chairman of Ijaw Youth Council, Comrade Ebizimor Preye, while reading from a communiqué of the council, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to rethink, and readdress its decision to phase out the programme.
He said the president should not allow the gains recorded through the programme to be truncated prematurely.
The Ijaw Youth Council chair also urged tthe National Assembly to expedite action and pass into law the bill establishing the Presidential Amnesty Programme for rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-militants.
It will be recalled that President Buhari, in his inaugural address in 2015, had said his government would begin the process of winding down the programme for ex-militants in the region this year.
But Preye, the council took the decision at the end of its emergency consultative meeting of Niger Delta youth groups and other stakeholders.
He said: “We, the undersigned representatives of Ijaw Youths and allied groups in the Niger Delta under the auspices and leadership of the Ijaw Youth Council, hereby call on the Federal Government to rescind, rethink, and readdress its position on the proposed premature phasing out of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
“To sustain the vision of that laudable plan requires dedication, commitment, and adherence to the delicate milestones and indicators of progress of the amnesty programme, and any premature phasing out of the Programme would be as bad as not having done it at all.
“The amnesty Programme can be likened to a long awaited medical treatment regimen which if not completed in terms of recommended dosage, appropriate duration and clinical tracking, or which if prematurely and unwisely terminated can lead to a more dangerous relapse of the ailment to the affected part of the body with grave consequences to the entire system.
“While the amnesty Programme cannot last forever it is more of a journey than a destination, and should be handled accordingly without premature, Ill-thought or rigid terminal processes because healing is gradual especially when the wounds are deep and severe as with the Niger Delta.”
He urged the National Assembly to expedite action and pass into law the bill establishing the Presidential Amnesty Programme for rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-militants.
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