A Niger Delta militant group, the Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC) has demanded that the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) be transferred to the office of the Chief of Staff (COS) to the President and head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
JRC spokesperson, Cynthia Whyte, who said the group was dissatisfied with the management of the amnesty programme, suggested that President Muhammadu Buhari should also set up an interim management committee like that of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to oversee a forensic audit of the programme.
Whyte said the amnesty programme could be better secured and protected from politicians and their cronies and kept under the presidency in such a manner that oil producing communities are adequately rewarded for their patience with the country.
“We agitated and even took up arms against the Nigerian State and the PAP was created. People who sat on the fence when we agitated and went up in arms against the country have again been called to manage the programme that we canvassed for,” she said.
The group observed that almost all the politicians who surround President Buhari today from the Niger Delta were all after political appointments and largesse, insisting that they only crave more for appointments than to serve and cater to the wishes and aspirations of the Niger Delta people, whose mandate they claim to represent.
Whyte lamented what Buhari’s government failed to do when it came into office in 2015 was to inaugurate an interim management committee to oversee both the NDDC and the PAP, adding, “Instead, it went ahead to make appointments and inaugurated leadership for both agencies and parastatals.
“We have all seen the end result. The Interim Management Committee (IMC) overseeing the NDDC is on the verge of releasing a forensic report on the activities and operations of the commission in the last few years.
“The report is damning. The scale of fraud, mismanagement and embezzlement is unbelievable. Nobody would have ever imagined that that measure of sleaze and malfeasance could ever have been possible under Buhari’s watch.
The same thing goes for the PAP where a retired Brigadier General was appointed and then relieved of his appointment in early 2018,” she stated.
JRC said while it was imperative to appoint non-career politicians into positions, people who do not have an understanding of the Niger Delta struggle should never be given an opportunity to run the PAP.
It insisted that those appointed since 2015 to manage the interventionist agencies do not understand the Niger Delta, its struggles and as such, agitations would continue to be a challenge to the country.