Lay down your arms, Ijaw youths tell militants •Applaud Buhari over Amnesty funding

Posted by News Express | 27 October 2016 | 2,448 times

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Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) on Wednesday urged Niger Delta militants to embrace peace to pave way for President Muhammadu Buhari to implement his developmental plan. The youths also expressed delight at the recent letter the President sent to the National Assembly seeking additional funding for the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).

The President, IYC, Mr. Udengs Eradiri, who spoke in Yenagoa on Wednesday, said the request for additional funds for the PAP portrayed Buhari as a listening President.
Eradiri said although Buhari’s action came later than expected, it would go a long way in calming the frayed nerves in the region.

He stated that the action of the President’s action was in tandem with the position of IYC.

He, however, advised the President to show similar commitment to improve the lots of other institutions created to develop the Niger Delta such as the Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Eradiri said: “Yes, the militants should give the government a chance. But the government needs to be proactive and not falling into this stereotype attitude.
“The President may be doing the right thing but when there is delay, his body language may be misinterpreted.

“For instance, if this current step of the President had come earlier and other steps we expect like pronouncing the resumption of the maritime university, l don’t see any sane agitator going against him.

“The President has taken an action. But did we have to lose all these lives, economy and all the constraints and emotional crisis before such a letter should be transmitted.
“Sometimes when you do something late, it has repercussions. If the actions Mr. President is taking now had been taken earlier, we wouldn't have got to this point where the economy will be lying prostrate.

“We need more proactive steps from the President. The President just sent a letter to the National Assembly requesting for more funds especially to support the amnesty programme.

“The breakdown of law and order in the Niger Delta is largely attributed to shortage of funding to the Amnesty office.

“We want to commend President Muhammadu Buhari and thank him because once we have this kind of commitment; Niger Delta crisis will be resolved. We look forward to doing everything possible on our part to ensure that there is peace.

“We are appealing to the President to, in the same spirits, look into the MNDA as well as funds that are owed the NDDC.”

The IYC President also urged Buhari to activate his anti-corruption drive in the monitoring and tracking of funds allocated to the interventionist agencies in the region.
He said aside from ensuring discipline in the utilisation of the allocated funds, the President should ensure that the funds were managed by people who understood the problems in the region.

Eradiri said: “We want to also state that while approving funds to institutions like this, the anti-corruption drive must be activated to ensure that the institutions live up to their expectations to ensure that funds are not diverted.

“Those in the position to manage the Amnesty office and other institutions addressing the issues of the region must be people who have knowledge of the issues.
“If he doesn’t have the right people to address the issues, even the funding will be misplaced.”

•Photo shows IYC President Udengs Eradiri.

Source: News Express

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