By Festus Fifen.
Special Adviser to Nigeria President on Niger Delta and Coordinator Presidential Amnesty Programme,Brig Gen. Paul Boroh(Rtd) has urged different groups in the Niger Delta region to be patient with the government and allow the different developmental processes currently ongoing in the region to be fully implemented.
Boroh who expressed these observations at an interactive forum with journalists in Abuja, stated that any lasting solution to the challenges of the region defies quick fix approach as its being expected by some groups who feel government is too slow. He further noted that since his appointment he has been able to see firsthand that the Federal government is truly committed to the region in terms of sustainable development.
According to Boroh, the human capacity building programmes which the amnesty office has been coordinating on behalf of the presidency with about 30, 000 ex agitators who are now in their reintegration stages has so far gulped about N48billion including other strategies adopted to maintain peace in the region.
In his words, ” The Presidential Amnesty Programme has developed and enhanced capacities of lawyers and other professionals in the course of different training of ex agitators. this year alone, we have graduated 177 students in United States, 140 from the United Kingdom.
He attributed ignorance and propaganda as part of problems facing the oil rich regions, adding that such was also fueling renewed agitations, especially that from the Pan Niger Delta Forum PANDEF.
General Boroh also used the medium to hint that as part of the fallout of recent interaction between the Acting President,Yemi Osinbajo and Pan Niger Delta Forum(PANDEF) at the Presidential Villa, over 10,000 persons have been penciled down for appointment to protect oil installations in the region, a programme which is expected to kick off in the next three weeks.
In his words, “The presidency has mandated the amnesty office to key it under “Securing Petroleum Pipelines and Assets in Host Communities” whereby these persons would be assigned to protect pipelines stretching at least 5,000 kilometers.
Speaking further on the outcome of the recent meeting with PANDEF, Gen. Boroh said, “The PANDEF meeting with the Federal Government went very well and it was also revealing as to what the government is doing towards ensuring peace,stability and development in the region. At the end of the meeting every representative in the meeting was happy and a win-win situation was established.
“It was revealed in the meeting too, the enormous amount of time and resources that the federal government expends in the Niger Delta region through the interventionists institutions,the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs,Ministry of Environment,the Ministry of Petroleum Resources,NDDC,Amnesty Programme and the Local Content Development Board.
“The region itself is peculiar for development its not as easy to develop that region like other regions, the terrain,vegetation and climate actually requires a lot of time and efforts to make a difference,”
“Now that the Petroleum Industry Bill(PIB) is looking positive, once it is assented to by government, much more development will be recorded in the region.
Recall that owing to a threat by PANDEF to pull out of negotiations with the Federal Government,Osinbajo had invited stakeholders from the region to a round table discussion at the Presidential Villa.
Part of the fallout of the meeting was the inclusion of PANDEF members in the Federal Government’s Inter-Ministerial Group that would see to implementation of some of these initiatives in the region.