The innovation, new approach, and result-oriented strategy brought to the management of the Amnesty program by General Barry Ndiomu Rtd call for increased funding for the Presidential Amnesty Program. This is to deepen further the gains made so far and strengthen the hands of the current leadership for the purpose of maintaining peace in the region, allowing businesses to continue thriving and further bolstering the country’s economy through its petrodollar.
The purchasing power of the stipend of Sixty-Five Thousand Naira payment to beneficiaries of the program has since been eroded by high inflation. The initial approval of Sixty-Five Thousand Naira was made in 2007 when the Amnesty proclamation was established. This amount, along with many other critical expenditures within the framework of managing the program, has become enormous, and the current inflationary trend has eroded its value. Our call for increased funding is predicated on the backdrop of the present economic realities on the ground.
Undoubtedly, there have been tremendous successes recorded so far under the leadership of General Barry Ndiomu Rtd. Some of these include the establishment of the Presidential Amnesty Cooperative Fund, currently in operation with a positive impact recorded. The management of the reintegration portion of the program, the most critical part, has been applauded by stakeholders. Additionally, the restructured and timely payment of beneficiaries’ scholarship fees in higher institutions within and outside the country, even when tuition fees have astronomically increased, showcases the program’s effectiveness. The continued training of participants in core areas of need to acquire skills, personal mentorship in the form of father-son relationships, and many other achievements made in a short period have reduced tension in the region. All of these capital expenditures have gone up and are still being executed within the previous budgetary allocations.
Nigerians should be reminded that the issues that gave birth to the Amnesty program still stare us in the face. Although the very critical issue of armed struggle has been eliminated, many demobilized persons have acquired various skills, and others have become graduates in diverse fields. The reintegration portion of the program is now in focus and should be followed through to its logical conclusion. Therefore, the political will and support from the Federal government that are needed right now are in terms of increased funding. The relative peace we have in the region today can be attributed to the meticulous management of the program ever since its proclamation by the Federal government. It is not out of place to claim that the South-South region has become the most peaceful region in the entire country due to the insistence on instilling good governance in the management of the affairs of the Amnesty Program under the present leadership.
In view of the foregoing, we fervently appeal to President Bola Tinubu to critically examine the justification for the demand and make necessary considerations to further help keep the peace in the region.
Joseph Ambakederimo, Convener, South-South Reawakening Group (SSRG).