The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has uncovered a plot by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to hijack the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) and make his kinsman from Akwa Ibom State the Coordinator of the programme.
President of IYC, Eric Omare, who made the allegation in a statement in Yenagoa warned the former governor of Akwa Ibom State to stop conceiving the idea of making the amnesty office an appendage of his ministry.
He said it was wrong for Akpabio to think that the amnesty office could be used as a political patronage, insisting that any attempt by the Presidency to let the minister have his way would breach the peace in the region.
Omare said just like the way Akpabio got the Presidency to delegate the supervision and control of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to his ministry, the minister had started scheming to settle his loyalist with an appointment as an amnesty coordinator.
He said: “We are warning the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to stop his political scheming to pressurized President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint one of his loyalist from Akwa Ibom State as Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme for Ex-Niger Delta Agitators.
“We have it in good authority that just like the way Senator Akpabio got the Presidency to delegate the supervision and control of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, he has started another political scheming to put the Presidential Amnesty Programme under the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
The minister wants to appoint his loyalist from Akwa Ibom State as the Coordinator of the programme under the spurious argument that it is the turn of Akwa Ibom State to produce the Coordinator of the Amnesty programme”.
Omare explained that the PAP was not conceived as a programme for everybody in the region but was designed to cater for special interests and stakeholders.
He said: “We wish to state clearly that the Presidential Amnesty programme is not a programme for everybody in the Niger Delta region, but a programme specially designed for ex-agitaors, who voluntarily surrendered their arms and ammunition to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“As a result the Amnesty programme, unlike the NDDC is not a turn-by-turn programme or agency but one that whose leadership and coordination must always be in the hands of the people and areas who understand the language of the creeks and Ex-Agitators in the Niger Delta region, who are the beneficiaries of the programme.
“It is on record that Akwa Ibom State already has a Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Niger Delta Affairs in the person of Senator Ita Enang and that is enough consideration to Godswill Akpabio and his political family for being part of the Niger Delta region.
“The IYC call on President Buhari to completely ignore the lobbying from Senator Akpabio as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to appoint his loyalist from Akwa Ibom State as Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme because such an action would lead to breach of the fragile peace in the Niger Delta region.
“The Amnesty programme is for a special class of people from the creeks of the Niger Delta region and not for political patronage on a turn-by-turn basis”.