The Minister receiving a plaque from the Amnesty boss
By Ignatius Ushie
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA), Umana Okon Umana has advocated for closer ties with the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) to ensure that the Ministry and the agency continue to work with various institutions to address the issue of oil theft, pipeline vandalization and sustain peace in the region. This was contained in a Press Release made available to Transport Day in Abuja.
According to the Press Release, Umana made this assertion when the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Interim Administrator, Col. Dixon Milland Dikio (Rtd), paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
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The Minister commended the Amnesty boss for his strategic role in bringing combatants militants out and procuring peace and stability in the region, adding that he believes that he still has an important role to play to tackle the problem of oil theft in the region. He therefore called on all stakeholders to forge partnership in addressing, the burning issues confronting the Niger Delta region and to end those vices destroying our aquatic lives.
Umana, Minister of the MNDA, further assured the Amnesty boss that effort is being made by the Federal Government to hand over the skill acquisition center at Agadagba to Ondo State Government, noting that the Centre would be of immense benefit to PAP and Nigeria at large.
Earlier in his address, Interim Administrator, PAP, Col. Dixon Milland Dikio (Rtd), explained that the programme by former President, Late Musa Yar’adu was a soft approach towards addressing issues affecting the Niger Delta region. It was designed to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate ex-agitators, adding that the visit is to explore area of support and assistance from the Ministry, to establish vertical and horizontal relationship to ameliorate the problems of the region.
According to him, Col. the programme as it relates to peace in the Niger Delta region is infrastructural development. “So, we believe that, if we are not in line with what MNDA and NDDC is doing, we would just be doing a temporary fix, on our side we have decided that we would focus on our core functions which is manpower development”.
Speaking further, Dikio said, “building on the vision of PAP would require that we set up a committee of Chief Executives of the Ministry, NDDC, and PAP to regularly review with the stakeholders the challenges and progress made so far and plan on future development in the region.
“This would build a lot more synergy so that we would not be working at cross purpose but we will be on the same page in driving Federal Government message in the region.
“Our focus should be reorienting the younger age group from age 12 to build bridges and alliances, having a project plan of how to stem drift from pity crimes, gangsterism and militancy. There should be a transition of PAP from the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme to what we called Niger Delta Stabilization Programme (NDSP)”, he said.