Presidential Amnesty boss in talks with ex-agitator Ateke Tom over programme
Ateke Tom

Adebayo Obajemu

The Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu, Rtd, has assured the host communities that the Federal Government was totally committed to engineering the rapid development of the Niger Delta even as he called for support from the region.

He disclosed that the policy document of the Presidential Amnesty Programme was originally designed to end in seven years ago.

He disclosed this during a meeting with the Amayanabo of Okochiri in Okirika, Rivers State, King Ateke Tom, the PAP boss said the life of the programme was extended by the government beyond its terminal year following some exigencies.

Allaying the fears of some stakeholders, Ndiomu assured that the PAP would not be abruptly terminated.

He said the meeting with King Ateke Tom, an ex-warlord and key figure of PAP, was one of a series of engagements geared towards peace and confidence building as well as a consultative and fact-finding mission to the region.

“The whole idea is to get them (stakeholders) to understand the fact that first of all, the amnesty programme itself, by name, will end. It’s not intended to be an endless exercise. Originally, as you will recall, it was intended to be terminated in the year 2015. But for certain reasons of exigency, it was extended beyond 2015.

“We need to also educate them on the need to focus more on the fact that there could be a terminal date at some point, and we all need to work together towards that so we do not lose focus from the primary objective of the scheme, which is in itself intended to terminate at some point,” he said.

Ndiomu, who thanked the monarch for the warm reception accorded him and his team, also applauded the king for his tireless efforts to sustain peace in his kingdom and the Niger Delta region.

“I came to introduce myself as the new interim administrator and also to acquaint him of the general policy direction of the federal government as regards the amnesty programme.

“We were very well received, we listened to him, his needs and reservations that he expressed. We will also move that to the authorities to let them know this was his reaction. He was generally satisfied, and he is very willing to cooperate and work with us to ensure that the intentions of the government is fully actualised,” he added.

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