The Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, has said discussion as to when the amnesty programme will end cannot be entertained until all the Niger Delta militants who surrendered their arms in 2006 when the programme began have been taken care of.
According to him, as of now, out of the 30,000 ex-agitators enlisted in the amnesty programme, only 18,703 have been taken care of while 11,297 are still waiting in the queue.
As for the people making fresh requests to be included on the list, Dokubo said inasmuch as he wished he could include them, he had no such power, which was reserved only for the President.
The Presidential Amnesty Programme Coordinator said this on Wednesday in Lagos during a stakeholders’ meeting with selected leaders of the Niger Delta.
He said the report available to him upon the assumption of office also indicated that the amnesty programme database had been infiltrated or compromised.
Dokubo said, “Since I assumed office, I have been inundated with requests and petitions calling for inclusions of supposedly excluded persons in the amnesty programme. In my early days on the job, I never saw anything wrong in the requests. In fact, I still do not see anything wrong in the inclusion of more persons in the programme. However, permit me to clarify here and now that I have also since found out that the Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme has no powers whatsoever to include even one person in the Amnesty Programme. The power of further inclusions resides with His Excellency, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces alone.
“Let me also further clarify that the enlistment in the programme was largely based on the number of arms and ammunition returned to the Federal Government within a stipulated period. Enlistment into the amnesty programme was not done on a state-by-state basis.”
I have heard some people ask: why does a particular state or one ethnic group have more persons in the programme than the other. The simple answer is that enlistment was done by the personnel of the Armed Forces of Nigeria during the amnesty window based on the number of weapons surrendered by the ex-agitators irrespective of their states of origin or the ethnic nationality they come from.”
He stressed that the amnesty programme would not end until all the ex-agitators had been trained.