Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly appoint a permanent head for the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
Addressing a press conference, a coalition of the CSOs, under the aegis of Peace For Niger Delta (PND), said it has become necessary for the president to do so for the continued sustenance of peace in the Niger Delta region.
The PND also asked President Buhari to immediately change the leadership of PAP from an Interim Administrator to a substantive presidential adviser to the president on the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Chief Douglas Charles said a substantive adviser should be appointed to handle the operations of PAP and coordinate the thousands of ex-agitators who are already getting agitated over the seemingly lack of attention to their plight.
His words: “At this crucial time that a new dawn has birthed in the petroleum industry with the historic signing into law of the PIA by Mr President, the Niger Delta region doesn’t need any form of crisis from ex-agitators because of their stipends or monies for training and entrepreneurships programmes.
“Mr President’s historic signing of the PIA is a welcome development for the oil industry and a gateway to transforming the region. A new head of the PAP on permanent appointment would help the ex-agitators break away from the fetters of dependency and crime.
“The job of the PAP is to transform ex-agitators into entrepreneurs and/or employable citizens who will become net contributors to the economy of the region and the country through effective collaboration with relevant public and private institutions and state governments in the region.
“We therefore call on Mr President to restore the mandate of the Amnesty Programme to its original intent and take service to the Niger Delta where the ex-agitators are domiciled by training the ex-agitators to become entrepreneurs who will act as agents of change to reverse the narrative of a people dependent on stipends but to self-actualised employers of labour and net contributors to the economic prosperity of the Niger Delta,” he said.