Press Release

Otuaro tasks Ex-Agitators on Peace and Security in Niger Delta

1. Dr Dennis Otuaro, the Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP, has urged ex-agitators enrolled in the programme to ensure peace and security in the Niger Delta, emphasizing the importance of avoiding actions that could undermine the programme’s objectives.

2. Otuaro made this charge at a stakeholders’ meeting with the leaders of Phase I, Phase II and Phase III of the PAP in Warri, Delta State, under the theme, “Fostering, Consolidating, and Collaborating for the Peace, Security, Stability, and Development of the Niger Delta.”

3. He stressed in a press release signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr Igoniko Oduma, that all stakeholders in the region must work towards this goal and consolidate the success of the Programme to prevent the Niger Delta from relapsing into the pre-amnesty years of serious conflicts and violence, which negatively impacted the region and the country.

4. “Sustaining the peace and security of the Niger Delta is the mandate of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, and we must do this for our communities, our children, and their children,” Otuaro said.

5. The Presidential Amnesty Programme was established in 2009 to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate former Niger Delta agitators. The first two phases of the programme have been completed, with the Presidential Amnesty Office now tasked with the reintegration of former agitators through programmes aimed at mainstreaming and providing institutional support for impacted communities in the Niger Delta.

6. At the stakeholders’ meeting in Warri, Otuaro stated that the Programme was an opportunity for the people of the region and, if well leveraged, could help resolve some of the challenges of the Niger Delta, especially human capital development.

7. He explained that stakeholders had no reason to worry, as he had assurances from President Bola Tinubu that the Federal Government would prioritize the developmental challenges of the Niger Delta.

8. “The President is very serious about the peace and security of the Niger Delta region,” he said.

9. Otuaro affirmed that despite its lean budget, the Amnesty Programme has made significant achievements. “Many delegates and beneficiaries from our impacted communities have received quality training and high-level manpower skills in diverse fields of human endeavours,” he stated. “Today, several are gainfully employed as air traffic controllers, flight instructors, aircraft maintenance engineers, pilots, and underwater welders.”

10. He added, “Others have also been trained and empowered through the Programme and are doing very well in various trades such as fashion design, unisex salon, fish farming, baking and confectionery, rice production, hairdressing, cement, and building materials.”

11. “In addition, several PAP scholarship students have made First Class and Second Class Upper in different courses of study, including Medical and Clinical Sciences, in universities at home and abroad. My leadership is committed to sustaining this trajectory of academic excellence, which is being applauded by well-meaning individuals and organizations across the region and indeed the country.”

12. Otuaro pledged to enhance the Presidential Amnesty Office’s operations to make it more responsive to stakeholders’ needs, promising regular meetings to get valuable feedback from delegates and respond swiftly to complaints. He explained that the need to make the PAP more effective in achieving its mandate prompted him to host the stakeholders’ meeting.

13. Many of the delegates at the event commended the Administrator of the PAP for the initiative while raising concerns about various aspects of the programme. The major complaints centred around financial difficulties, with most arguing that the N65,000 stipend is now too meagre to meet their basic needs and that there is a need for a significant upward review.

14. According to Gilbert Isobe, one of the Phase leaders from Bayelsa, “When we first started receiving the N65,000 in 2009, the money was sufficient, but after 15 years, it cannot take care of anything now. We, therefore, plead with the Federal Government to increase the budget of the Presidential Amnesty Programme so that the stipends can be increased to at least N150,000.”

15. At the end of the meeting, all the delegates and stakeholders passed a vote of confidence in the Administrator, Otuaro, commending the President for appointing him.

16. “He was part of the struggle and one of us. This is the best decision the President has made,” said Prince Emeka Igwe, a delegate from Imo State.

Signed:

Igoniko Oduma

Special Assistant on Media to the Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme.

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