Niger Delta youths seek amnesty for local refinery operators

Posted by News Express | 12 May 2017 | 1,852 times

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•Acting President Osinbajo.

A coalition of Niger Delta youth leaders on Thursday urged the Federal Government to grant pardon and amnesty to operators of artisanal refineries.

The youths appealed to relevant federal agencies to adopt the model used in the Presidential Amnesty Programme for Ex-militants.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo had on February 13 during his tour of Niger Delta region announced that the Federal Government would establish modular refineries in oil communities to drive development.

The group made the recommendations after a meeting with leadership of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Yenagoa.

The coalition comprises ex-militant leaders under the amnesty scheme and non violent youth leaders from the region.

Speaking shortly after the meeting Mr Kenedy West, a Niger Delta youth leader who coordinated the group, said the coalition had met with the military and pledged to work to sustain existing peace in the region.

West, who is also a Senior Special Assistant to Bayelsa Governor on Niger Delta Youth Matters, noted that the youths were ready to leverage on recent pronouncements of the federal government to empower the youths.

He said that the group had realised that the region had been adversely affected by violence sparked off by agitation which had compelled investors to leave the region in droves and noted it was time for a rethink.

He said that the youths had made far reaching recommendations to the military aimed at actualising the development plans being proposed by the federal government for the Niger Delta region.

Also speaking Mr Nature Kiegha, an ex-militant leader, noted that the youths recommended the Presidential Amnesty model adopted by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua administration following its success.

He said: “We urge the Federal Government to grant presidential pardon and amnesty on repentant operators of illegal refineries, pipeline vandals, to enable the perpetrators stop that act once and for all.

“Government should establish presidential committee to coordinate the process including receiving the repentant illegal bunkerers, collation of data, rehabilitation and map out programmes for economic reintegration.

“We want the NNPC to liaise with the leadership of Operation Delta Safe to review and re-award the pipeline surveillance contract for effective and efficient policing of the pipelines.

“With the amount speculated by NNPC to construct a modular refinery it is obvious that the repentant illegal refinery operators cannot effort it, as such defeat the essence of the initiative.

“Hence, we suggest that Mini Modular refinery be approved so as to accommodate the indigenes of the area.

“We seek to partner with the military to offer our service as a Quick Response Team to carry out a robust sensitisation and awareness programs on Peace Building and nonviolence disposition.”

Kiegha further said that the coalition frowns at the incessant harassment of Niger Delta elders especially the family of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Kiegha noted that moves by some members of the House of Representatives to sabotage the proposed relocation of IOCs to the Niger Delta region is regrettable and ill advised.

“We urge the Federal Government not to be deterred in pursuing the pronouncement and actualising it.

“On our part we assure the oil firms of a conducive operational environment suitable for their investment,” he said.

Source: News Express

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