Posted by News Express | 3 October 2018 | 1,473 times
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Prof. Charles Dokubo, on Tuesday expressed optimism that new policies and objectives for Presidential Amnesty Programme under his watch will transform the Niger Delta region.
He however, warned that the Amnesty Programme cannot effectively serve its purpose if the people of the Niger Delta are not bonded by a common interest to develop the region.
Speaking in Abuja when a delegation of the South-south Chiefs, Elders and Opinion Leaders Association of Nigeria (SSCEOLAN) paid him a courtesy visit, Dokubo said the Niger Delta region will attain giant strides if the people can positively utilize the instrumentality of the Amnesty Programme provided by the federal government.
“When the federal government brought this programme where we are training our people and sending them abroad, they did it because it is a necessary action. So, we are going to carry out this programme in an all inclusive manner. Wherever you are from the Niger Delta, you must be part of this programme. I’m here to carry out what I call reintegration, training, retraining and bringing out Niger Delta people so that they can be as qualified as any other person in Nigeria”.
While expressing dismay over what he described as pull-him-down syndrome prevalent among the people of Niger Delta, Dokubo urged them to be united and work for a common goal. “I cannot claim to know everything, but I also know that with your experience you can always direct me on the right path so that we can do things the right way. I came into this place not to criticize anyone but to start from where I was appointed. What I met here is not what I’m here to talk about, but we are all from the Niger delta. Our idea of pulling down people is too much, and I will not be part of that. For me, where I want Niger Delta people to look into is how we can use this office to benefit our people. It is not about personal gains; it is about community development. Let us stop agonizing and start organizing, because if we do that, we will help ourselves.
The best thing I have seen in this organization is that we come from different places, but we have one objective. If we can have one objective in the Niger delta, half of our problems will be solved. My fear is that after 20 years, if we cannot uphold the Niger delta, we cannot empower our people, then Amnesty will kill Niger delta. I always tell people like that, because the type of behaviour I have seen in this place, where personal interest overrides regional interest, really beats my imagination”.
Dokubo gave assurance of his determination to deliver on the mandate handed him by President Muhammadu Buhari, who he said has the interest on the Niger Delta region at heart. But he emphasized that due process and statutory provisions will be his guiding principles in the performance of his duties.
“I want to do my best for the people, but you will hear stories. Since I came to this office, I have not touched the Data from which monies are paid because I don’t want to touch it. If I touch it, there will be problem. There are some people who are earning money that they are not even supposed to earn. If I say I want to dismantle it, then I will bring experts to come and decipher, assemble and analyse the Data. It will take six months and people will not be paid their stipends and allowances.
“Since I resumed office, I have been paying stipends as at when due. I have not failed. There was a particular month I even paid for two months. I don’t want any crisis in our region. It will not be under my watch that will happen. So, whatever we are doing, let us keep the Niger delta in the forefront of our thoughts. I will do my best. My business is to do a particular job so that people will gain from it, so when I go, you will stand up and say there was a man called Charles Dokubo.
“I know that if you can use this vehicle that has been provided by the federal government for us, I think we can go places. My policies and objectives are to transform the Niger Delta; we are not going to depend on stipends, we are going to get jobs, job placements. This is the focus of my administration. We are doing some seaman training with a Greek company that is going to build ships in an open port; we have signed the MOU and all that but if there is also an indigenous idea that we can also develop and use it for our people, I will take a positive look towards it. It is better that we look for what we want instead of looking for money for transport.
“And to be frank to all of you, most of the people carrying out protests, they are not in the Data of the Amnesty Programme. Let us say you fought for emancipation of the Niger Delta, as a result, you have a chance to go to university, you say you cannot go, you give it to your son or brother to go, yet, you still want to earn that N65,000 naira while we are paying school fees and everything? If you try to tell them that it is wrong, it is as if you are against them, they say it is our money. Yes, it is your money, but you must do something to earn it. Nobody is taking money from Niger Delta people.”
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