By Ndu Samuel
An Ijaw women interest group, The Ijaw Women Connect Worldwide (IWC) has reacted to speculations that the National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno has constituted a yet to be announced caretaker committee made up of predominantly Northerners to take over the coordination of the Presidential Amnesty Program, describing it a threat to security.
The groups reaction was contained in a press statement signed by its National President, Comr. Rosemary Graham-Naingba and issued to newsmen on Monday, a copy of which was obtained by The Liberator Newspaper.
Graham explained that ”It is rumoured that the National Security Adviser (NSA) Mr. Babagana Monguno, has constituted an interim management committee to oversee and coordinate the adminstrative responsibilities of the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme.
”This to us implies that we are perceived as a subjugated people by those in government and unworthy of being consulted as citizens, over matters that affect our people and region. It constitutes a threat to peaceful co-existence and may generate to a breakdown of law and order in the Niger Delta Region should these names being promoted, are confirmed and the persons allowed to man the affairs of the agency.” She said
The IWC president gave the names of the rumoured caretaker committee to include Mr. A.A. Lawal, Chairman, Col. Udoma ,Secretary, Mr. Anthony S.A. (Legal)-Member, Brig-Gen Mohammed -Director Of Finance And Administration (DFA), and one other person to represent the Secretary to the Federal Government, SGF.
She reminded the government that ” the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme, is an interventionist agency established to house the Ex-Agitators with a mandate as structured by the Late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua, to bring lasting peace to the volatile Niger Delta Region and halt the collapse of the Nigerian economy that resulted from the intensity of the Militancy/ agitations from 2006-2009.
”As Mothers of Ijaw Nation and Stakeholders who have been involved in the clamour for a peaceful region, we affirm that should these names be announced, a phase of disruptive agitations, whose impact or end no one can foretell, will be unleashed not only on the oil rich Niger Delta region, but the country at large.” She warned
She said, IWC prays that this ”administration will take fatherly, pragmatic action to ensure that this rumour do not manifest in reality. Nigeria bleeds in different areas today. The land and people hurt deeply. We cannot afford to open another gash in the bleeding, limping land.
”With all due respect, please be reminded that today, the oil sector experiences uncommon, subsisting peace due to the successful structuring of an engaging programme of training, skills, empowerment and containment of anger and agitation by the Presidential Amnesty Programme. The benefits reflect in the oil sector experiencing stability and the Nigerian economy primed for the effective running of the Federal System.”
”As Ijaw Mothers, we use this medium to call on President Muhammadu Buhari, to ensure that stakeholders are given the opportunity to nominate those who should be saddled with the responsibility of running the affairs of the agency. It is an interventionist body for Niger Deltans, therefore Northerners can not manage an agency they know nothing about. It would be a disservice to the people of the region and the relative peace enjoyed now, maybe greatly threatened.
”We declare that just as persons other than those from affected, stakeholding communities in the North East, cannot manage the North East Development Commission, no other region can manage the affairs of the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme due to its peculiar origins and ecological specificities.”
”It is on this note that as Mothers, the nurturers of life in the Niger Delta, we seek the intervention of Mr. President to swiftly address these issues to de-escalate the growing tensions and national threats, we observe.
”Peace is priceless and we all can testify to the stability in the oil sector and corresponding boom in the Nigerian economy.
”Unfortunately, it appears as if the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme has been hijacked by a few persons in the government who imagine that they own the country more than citizens from other regions. If this widespread perception is reinforced through a Presidential nod given to the promoters of this insulting, derogatory scheme to impose an unwanted Caretaker Committee peopled by persons from the North definitely, there will be sustained resistance. And this resistance may lead to the break down of law, and order and threats to life and the economy.”
”We respectfully counsel that, Mr. President should for the sake of stability in the oil sector, appoint a Coordinator immediately from among competent Ijaw people.”
”We are watching the unfolding events, as we fear that certain elements will not hesitate to shut down all the oil platforms in Ijaw land. We have made our observations and fears known. We will not be held responsible should there be a breakdown of law and order in the region.”
”We strongly suggest that a New Coordinator be appointed to man the affairs of the PAP. Constituting an Interim committee of Northerners will only encourage violence. The Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme is well structured with a mandate to manage the training and empowerment of the beneficiaries of the programme.”
Recall that President Muhamadu Buhari last week sacked the coordinator of the program, Prof Charles Dokubo, and since then, no replacement has been named.