The Presidential Amnesty Office has raised the alarm over an alleged plot by a group of youths from some Niger Delta states to again invade the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in protest over their non-inclusion in the federal government’s Amnesty Programme for ex-agitators.
The office said it was aware that “some of these disgruntled youths are already in Abuja claiming that they were invited to a meeting by the Amnesty Office in order to document their inclusion in the programme.”
In a press statement issued yesterday by the Head of Media and Communications, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, the office said it did not extend such invitation to any group of youths from the Niger Delta.
“We have discovered that their plan is to storm the National Assembly to demand inclusion in the amnesty programme even after the window granted by Mr. President had since closed,” the statement said, noting that the agitation for inclusion in the programme was a familiar pattern encouraged by some elements in the region each time they want to scheme for another phase of the programme.
“The Amnesty Office insists that no amount of protest or agitation will force an extension beyond the Third Phase, which is indeed the last of such inclusion in the programme. We insist that there will be no further inclusion beyond the 30,000 beneficiaries already captured in the programme and condemn any move that encourages unengaged youths in the region to demand inclusion through ill-advised agitations and protests.
“The Amnesty Office aligns itself with the outcome of the Third Phase verification exercise conducted by the Air Vice Marshall James Gbum-led committee set up by the Chief of Defence Staff,” the statement added.
The office also pointed out that the committee did a thorough and satisfactory job of the verification exercise, which resulted in the inclusion of an additional 3,642 youths in the programme, following a presidential directive, adding that payment of the monthly stipends of these youths has since commenced, having been properly verified by the committee.
“The Amnesty Office urges security agencies to continue to be alive to their responsibilities and take appropriate actions to stop any individual or group that foments trouble in Abuja or in the Niger Delta under the guise of demanding inclusion in the amnesty programme.
“We also urge states in the Niger Delta to engage youths in the region through educational, skill acquisition and empowerment schemes as the amnesty programme for the former agitators is not an alternative government in the region,” the Amnesty Office said.