The Itsekiri are an ethnic group in Nigeria’s Niger Delta area, Delta State. Itsekiri Leader and Chair for the Itsekiri Regional Development Council, IRDC, Warri, Delta State; Chief Ayiri Emami has described the federal government’s amnesty program as purely fraudulent and lacking in total transparency.
In a live television program on Television Continental in Lagos on Tuesday of last week that was monitored by Nigerianreporter.com, the Niger Delta activist commended the decision of the federal government to grant amnesty to Niger Delta militants who have been blowing up oil and gas pipelines in the region, however, faulted the manner and system in which the program has been carried out.
Since 2009, the program has provided job training and education to former rebels who wrought havoc on the oil-rich southern region by kidnapping foreign workers and attacking oil facilities, crippling the country’s key industry.
He believed that the majority of names in the amnesty program are not from the region despite government efforts to ensure that adequate attention is given to the people.
Emami also faulted the past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan for neglecting the plight of the people living in the Niger Delta region only to focus on some certain individuals or groups of people who are agitating for their own personal pocket or interest.
“The present day government is doing a lot to ensure that the Niger Delta region enjoys from the free amnesty program. However, I am still not satisfied with it considering the fact that amnesty program has been fraudulent and not transparent,” Chief Emami told TVC.
“It’s a pity that those people who are responsible for the program usually use that medium to enrich their pocket because of the money involved. They select the names of their relatives on the program without utilizing the purpose of the program on the people living in the Niger Delta Region,” Emami added.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will be paying former Niger Delta militants directly, as President Muhammadu Buhari resumes amnesty payments. This was disclosed by Piriye Kiyaramo, the amnesty program’s media officer on Monday in Abuja, a day before Emami’s television remarks. Kiyaramo said the government will also be paying tuition for the ex-militants as first published on Reportsafrique.com.
In another development, three ex-militants who were sponsored to study in the U.K., under the Niger Delta Amnesty Program have bagged first class honors.