Abuja— The Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has lauded the Federal Government for jettisoning plans to terminate the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
According TheWill News Media, National Chairman of PANDEF, Senator Emmanuel Ibok-Essien, gave the commendation when he led other executive members of the group on a courtesy visit to PAP’s Interim Administrator, Maj-Gen. Barry Ndiomu (rtd), in Abuja.
Essien said the reports of the planned termination of the programme sparked anxiety and increased tension among the people and would have destroyed the existing peace in the region.
He stated that by suspending the plan, President Muhammadu Buhari displayed high sensitivity to issues of the Niger Delta as well as commitment to the peace and stability of the region.
The leader of the apex- Niger Delta socio-cultural body, also commended Ndiomu for his patriotism and courage in consulting with stakeholders and for listening and communicating the right feedback to the Federal Government since his assumption.
He said: “The visit is in furtherance of our resolve to continuously engage with critical stakeholders of the Niger Delta region which the amnesty is a very serious part of it.
“We congratulate you on your appointment and thank you for what you have been doing which includes making the right feedback available to the government since you assumed office, which led to the stoppage of plans to terminate the amnesty programme”.
Ndiomu, on his part, applauded PANDEF for the visit and for promoting the interest of the Niger Delta through sound advocacy and expressed his willingness to work with them to achieve his mandate for the PAP.
He noted that the visit was an opportunity for him to state in clear terms some falsehoods and misconceptions about the new policy direction of the PAP.
In his words: “I was excited when I received the message that PANDEF executive is coming to visit us because for me it was an opportunity to correct some impressions to the people I believe are our political leaders, those who are responsible for directing the pace of affairs in the Niger Delta. So, I thank you very much for coming.
‘’Let me begin by saying when I was appointed by the government, I was given a clear directive to wind down the system and the reason was that the programme itself was not to run forever.
“The model that dictated the establishment of this programme was borrowed from the United Nations; it is a model that has been applied in all conflict zones across the world to achieve certain objectives within a period of time.”
Ndiomu further stated that the Presidential Amnesty Programme was originally set to be terminated by 2015 from its inception in 2009 but “the President then in his wisdom decided that certain persons that were not captured should be captured, that brought about the concept of impacted communities.”