Following the removal of the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Paul Boroh, the Presidential Amnesty programme with the attendant lacuna and its effect on the programme, it has become imperative for the federal government to take appropriate decisive measures to forestall any breakdown of communication with the recipients of the programme whilst consolidating on its gains to improve and better the lot of the Niger Delta region.
This call has become necessary given to the numerous concerns being expressed by the ex-agitators and their members, as well as the seemingly unrest amongst its ranks. It is a known fact that the Presidential Amnesty Programme has tremendously checked the volatile activities in the region and has also created a new lease of life to the once restive youths of the Niger Delta region. Suffice to say that, the continuous delay in kick starting and implementing all pending projects and palliatives may be an albatross if no concrete action is put in place moving forward. The apparent lack of coordination and the delay in contractual obligations may pose an even greater risk if nothing is done urgently in mitigating and minimizing the pain currently being experienced by all stakeholders under the scheme.
Furthermore, I would plead with the FG to do all within its powers to alleviate the pain being experienced due to the lockdown of the country following the emergence of the Coronavirus. This is very necessary given the volatile nature of the youths when confronted with hunger and if left unattended to, seeing the rate of poverty and lack, not only in the Niger Delta but throughout the country.
Finally, the unemployed youths in Nigeria are in dire need of government assistance and palliatives at these very trying times. Reports indicate that over 20 million unemployed youths may be at risk of starvation and severe hunger during the lockdown with nothing to ameliorate their sufferings at this time. The FG must come clean in its Social Intervention Programme by properly capturing all able bodied youths who are genuinely unemployed due to no fault of theirs amidst this pandemic.
My feeling is that poor hungry able bodied youth if not well attended to and harnessed is a ticking time bomb especially in the Niger Delta. The time to intervene is now and quickly too.
High Chief Selky Kile Torughedi (Gen. Young Shall Grow) Chairman, Ex Agitators Forum, Niger Delta and Chairman, Board of Trustees, Unemployed Youths Association of Nigeria (UYAN) wrote from Abuja.