Chief Edwin Clark has cautioned the Federal Government against ending the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) that was introduced to promote peace in the Niger Delta region and to rehabilate repentant militants.
Clark was speaking during a virtual press conference in response to what he believes to be information that a panel set up by the federal government to look into the activities of the amnesty programme had recommended its scrapping with effect from December.
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He said, “When I got this information yesterday, my temper was high because how can a region, which contributes so much to the economic growth, and by extension, political and social growth of the country, be treated with so much disdain and spite?”
Clark said, “Except they have prepared another ‘Operation Crocodile Smile, government needs to be very cautious. Wake not a sleeping lion. This is not a threat; it is a clarion call for peace.”
The Ijaw leader questioned why the members of the investigative panel didn’t visit the Niger Delta region to see things for themselves and make informed judgments.
He said, “Did Ambassador Lawal and his team ever travel to the Niger Delta region to find out if the objective of setting up the programme such as infrastructural development, sand filling; building low- cost houses, building roads, which are to be carried out by the PAP as its second phase activities contained in the proclamation, been achieved? As someone outside of the region does he really understand or feel the sufferings of the people of the region?
“Also, what measures have been put in place by the federal government to fulfill its promises to the region such as setting up modular refineries, the relocation of the operational headquarters of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) and the Ogoni cleanup as contained in the 16-point Agenda of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), which we presented to Mr. President at the Presidential Villa on 1st November, 2017? Our living condition in the region has worsened. The PAP should be allowed to continue for some more time.”