EX-AGITATORS from Niger Delta at the weekend called on President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the Ministry of Finance to without delay, release the budgetary allocations meant for the Presidential Amnesty Programme for its successful implementation. They noted that the timely release of the funds was imperative in order to strengthen the on-going efforts made by the Federal Government to enthrone lasting peace in the Niger Delta. The ex-agitators, under the auspices of the Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative, made their position known at a meeting in Yenagoa,
Bayelsa State capital. LPCDI is touted to be the umbrella body of about 90 per cent of the First Phase leaders of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. In a statement released on Saturday, the National President, LPCDI, Chief Reuben Wilson, known during the agitation as ‘General Pastor Reuben’, said the call was a unanimous decision taken by all members of the body. Wilson, though acknowledged and appreciated the tour of the region by Acting President, Prof. Yemi Oshinbajo, to foster peace and development, he maintained that the prompt release of the funds would go a long way in strengthening the government’s achievements. He noted that the delay in
payments of stipends to PAP’s beneficiaries would greatly negate the current efforts of the Federal Government to enthrone peace in the region, adding that PAP is a great contributor to the current peace prevailing in the region. The LPCDI boss stated, “The group is greatly concerned about the current state of lack of funds in the Amnesty Office to carry out its programmes which are designed to permanently eradicate restiveness in the Niger Delta region for the betterment of the entire country. “As stakeholders, who truly want the accelerated development of the Niger Delta, the delay could slow the ongoing peace process and we wouldn’t want such to happen. Anyone,or group of persons that do not consider the importance of the Presidential Amnesty Programme in the peace building process of the region is an enemy of the nation. ‘’Such a person, or group of persons do not also mean well for the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari as the economic prosperity and development of the nation still largely depends on the peace in the Niger Delta.” He also expressed their deep concern over the poor funding of the Niger Delta Scholarship students in the United Kingdom under the Federal Government Amnesty programme. He claimed that students of various universities in their final academic year had been stopped from academic services and were also being evacuated from their accommodation due to non-payment of their tuition fees and in-training allowances which had piled up to five months. The LCPDI boss also used the medium to welcome President Buhari back to the country after his vacation in the United Kingdom and appreciated Osinbajo for actively holding forte for the President, particularly in the moves to address the Niger Delta cause during his vacation. He noted that the LPCDI was working tirelessly across the Niger Delta to enthrone peace so that the Federal Government would be able to achieve its policies and programmes for the betterment of the country. Wilson called on youths and stakeholders of the region to give peace a chance, insisting that the development of the region could only happen in an environment of sustained peace and security.

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