Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, said it will partner with the Presidential Amnesty Office in the reintegration programme of over 30,000 former agitators in the Niger-Delta.
Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, disclosed this yesterday when the Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme and Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Brigadier-General Paul Boroh, rtd, paid her a courtesy visit at the commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.
Semenitari stated that although the Niger-Delta region suffered a lot of deprivation in the past, they should not allow previous challenges to continue to prevent them from moving ahead. She said for there to be a safe haven for oil exploration in the region, the federal government must think of how to address poverty.
“To hear you talk about teaching our people to fish gives us a lot of joy because indeed, we are a proud people who have always wanted to earn their own living.
Indeed, we suffered a lot of deprivation in the past because of the kind of things that happened to our environment. We cannot continue to allow ourselves to be defined by those challenges. We will not allow ourselves to be crushed by the troubles that we witnessed.
“So, the kind of things you are doing with this reintegration programme is commendable. It is something that the region should celebrate. I want to reassure you that for us at the NDDC, this provides for us a lynchpin to development and we will work with you to achieve those goals.
“It is clear that this region will not make progress if our brothers and sisters are not properly reintegrated. The Chinese say that as long as your neighbour is hungry, your chicken is not safe. So, if Nigeria wants its chicken to be safe, then it needs to look at the issues of poverty that is bedeviling the country. Poverty in our rural communities, not just in the Niger–Delta, but across the country.
“What we can do with the Amnesty programme and the NDDC is to provide a template that would enable the country understand how we will engage the rural poor and vulnerable population. We must move this country from poverty to wealth and we will do so, when the very poorest is catered for.”
Speaking earlier, the coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme and special adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs said the amnesty programme is geared towards sustainable peace in the region.
According to him, the reintegration programme of the ex-agitatiors, which is the last phase of the Amnesty programme, is the responsibility of everybody in the region.

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