By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
Following concerted efforts made by the new Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Maj. Gen. Barry Tariye Ndiomu (rtd), on assumption of office recently on how best to recalibrate the Programme into a moreeffective and efficient agency, the federal government has to recind its earlier plan of winding down the programme.
Gen. Ndiomu, in statement, issued by his media consultant, Donu Kogbara, expressed gratitude towards the federal government for listening when he made it clear that critical stakeholders across the region were strongly opposed to the winding down of the PAP.
Gen. Ndiomu who gave the hint in Abuja on Saturday commended President Muhammadu Buhari for giving listening ears to the people of Niger Delta, adding that new decision demonstrates the sensitivity of the President Buhari-led administration to issues affecting the Niger Delta people.
He said President Buhari was more interested in taking further Proactive steps to re-engineer the programme in such a way that would benefit the people of the region, with particular reference to the ex-agitators whose sacrifices birthed the amnesty programme in 2009.
The Interim Administrator also thanked the critical stakeholders in the region for being so supportive since his assumption of office, pointing out that the various views and advice from stakeholders during his consultative meetings across the region were very useful.
According to Gen. Ndiomu: “The Presidential Amnesty Programme will be re-engineered towards ensuring that its original mandate is fully realised, culminating in a gradual phased winding down of the Programme in the near future”.
The statement reads in part: “The Federal Government has heard the concerns of Niger Delta people and, with our best interests at heart, has decided to shelve an unwanted termination agenda and transform PAP into a more sanitized, transparent, efficient, robust and sustainable entity.
“Following wide consultations with the the ex-agitators accross the Niger Delta and the subsequent feedbacks to the federal government, the administration of President Buhari has been magnanimous in shelving the idea of winding down the Programme. Rather, the President is determined to ensure that the Amnesty programme is re-engineered to achieve its original mandate,” Gen. Ndiomu stated.
“The decision was taken after the feelings of stakeholders and people of the region were communicated to the government and proves that the Buhari’s administration will not do anything to jeopardize the peace in the Niger Delta. The government weighed the arguments presented, based on their merits, and decided to suspend the planned shutdown.
“We call on all stakeholders to sustain the peace in the region and help the new administration to reform, refocus and reposition the programme for optimum performance”, the Interim Administrator said.