Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission, Senator James Manager on Monday said any plan to scrap the Amnesty Programme for ex-militants, will end the continued existence of Nigeria as a nation.
Manager, who is representing Delta South in the upper chamber, stated this in Warri, during an empowerment programme he packaged for over 1,000 people from the eight local government areas of the senatorial district.
There have been clamours for the scrapping of the programme by some individuals and groups recently because of the huge funds which they claimed, the federal government was investing to prosecute it.
But Manager insisted that the programme must remained relevant adequately funded beyond 2015 if the country must continue to enjoy peace in the ever volatile oil-rich region.
He described those calling for the scrapping of the laudable programme as enemies of Nigeria in view of the fact that the country had been enjoying steady rise in crude production due to the engagement of youths from the area in productive activities.
Rather than clamouring for the end of the programme, Manager advised Nigerians to push for more funding and support from multi-national oil firms and foreign agencies to make it more successful.
He said the amnesty programme may only be discontinued when the much needed developmental projects being executed by various intervention agencies had touched every sector of the economy in the areas.
He said, “The programme must continue in the Niger Delta if Nigeria must continue to exist as a nation. It can only be stopped when the development we are yearning for has been fully achieved.
“Some of the restive youths hitherto perpetrating one form of atrocity or the other in the creeks, therefore disrupting oil exploration by the multi – national firms, are now being trained as pilots and engineers among others, just to make them useful to the society.”
Items distributed by Manager on the occasion included 85 tricycles,125 motorcycles,131 fishing nets, 80 sewing machines, seven welding machines, 67 grinding machines and 106 hair dryers.
Some of the beneficiaries including the physically challenged people and members of the PDP across the eight local council in the senatorial region.
Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Basil Ganagaga, appealed to beneficiaries to make effective utilization of the items.
He also urged top government functionaries and politicians to initiate empowerment programmes in order to tackle youth restiveness and prostitution among younger women.