Thursday, February 16, 2012

Amnesty Programme: Giving The Dog A Bad Name

An overview analysis

15 September 2012

The recent attempt by some criminal-minded elements hiding under the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) to create a false insecurity situation in the Niger Delta is condemnable, but it is not an excuse for anybody to give the Presidential Amnesty Programme a bad name. Even though the huge attention the issue has attracted in the last few days is expected, the attempt by some public commentators to rubbish the good works of the project without looking at the massive gains from it is iniquitous.

Some commentators, especially those who have never for a day hidden their hatred for the cause of the Niger Delta, were quick to point to billions of naira that had been expended by the programme in an attempt to rehabilitate the ex-militants in the region and concluded that that the huge amount of money may have gone down the drains.  
The job of the amnesty programme-disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation-is almost completed. What the federal government needs to do urgently is to sustain the peace and security of life and property in the Niger Delta; and the best way to begin is to start the second phase of the amnesty project-that of massive socio-economic development of the region.

The state of infrastructure development in the region is still pitiable and disgraceful. The Ministry of Niger Delta and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) appear to be derailing and losing focus. They are pinned down by political and other primordial considerations at the expense of their mandate to carry out infrastructure development in the region.

Without further delay, the necessary authorities must also move very fast to refine their legal frameworks and ensure that the multinationals doing business in the Niger Delta comply with the high standards of doing business, and, when they err, sanction must be applied immediately.

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