Despite the widespread jubilation that greeted the Amnesty Programme organized by state governments for militants and cultists in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Usani Nguru Usani, Friday described it as a fraud that does not have any impact.
The Minister expressed displeasure over the manner the state governments granted pardon to criminal elements parading as militants, adding that the exercise does not enjoy the backing of the Federal Government or his Ministry and therefore is “null and void”.
Uguru who was apparently referring to the recent Amnesty programme organized by Imo and Rivers states, where militants surrendered their arms and were granted amnesty, insisted that the Amnesty programme has been abused by the state governments.
According to the Minister who spoke with newsmen after a workshop in Owerri the Imo state capital, “it is unfortunate that the amnesty programme has been misused and abused. From my own understanding, what is happening is not amnesty. Any criminal cannot just go and carry his grand-father’s arms and after terrorizing the community for a while, he is granted amnesty.
He continued that, “the amnesty has been abused, in my own view, it has really been abused. Somebody goes to carry his grandfather’s gun that he used in fighting the 2nd world-war to present and say it’s amnesty, that is nonsense to me, this is my take on this amnesty thing that I see happening around”.
Meanwhile the Minister disclosed that the Niger Delta Ministry is in partnership with the United Nation development programme UNDP has organized a workshop to assess the validation of baseline report on projects on the Niger Delta region.
He said; “I am in Owerri to attend the discourse on assessing towards validation on the baseline report on the region; the essential perspective of this report is to be sure that whatever we are doing in any area of the region is according to needs and not perception. So baseline report has been carried out between the Ministry and the UNDP to be sure that we assess the state of affairs intersectorally and regionally to be able to know in our planning what needs to go well according to demand.”