Former President of the Ijaw Youth Council and Leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, on Monday insisted that the Federal Government’s N74bn vote for the rehabilitation and retraining of the Niger Delta ex-militants in the 2012 budget was not enough.
In a statement, Dokubo-Asari demanded that a 10-day oil production proceeds should be allocated to the programme, since the country’s oil production had risen to 2.6 million barrels per day against 680, 000 before the amnesty programme was instituted by ex-President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
According to him, the increase is part of the gains of the amnesty programme.
He said, “With all these gains, one expects that the operators of the amnesty project should have been encouraged and applauded. Instead, what we see is rebuke, recrimination and an attempt to scuttle the project by those who contribute next to nothing in the upkeep and maintenance of the Nigerian state but are now calling for a probe into the amnesty project.
“There is nothing wrong with probing a government institution if it is not done out of malice.
“It is important to state that going by the 2012 budget passed by the National Assembly, the amnesty project budget is about N74bn annually. Which means that amnesty project budget for a year is far less than two days oil production.
“I believe that the resources allocated to the amnesty project is inadequate and cannot dig deep to satisfy the aspirations and yearnings of the people of the oil-bearing communities. I hereby suggest that for a new start, 10 days oil production proceeds, after removing cost of product and percentage proceeds due to joint ventures partners, should be allocated to the training and education of the people of the oil-bearing communities through the amnesty project.”
The ex-militant alleged that the company of one of the allies of the late Gen. Sani Abacha offered oil operating licence on July 8, 1996 produces 400, 000 barrels of oil per day, meaning that the company makes N2.3bn annually, despite the death of the owner.
“If a dead individual is raking N2.3bn in 365 days, why should N74bn be allocated to the amnesty project from resources gotten from underneath their soil?,” he said.
“This is how the Nigerian state is been run and managed at the expense of the vast majority of her people. While some people pretend to be blind to these painful realities, some of us will not join the bandwagon of the blind men, these inequity, injustice and blatant insensitivity must be checked now if we are to have a stable polity.”
The NDPVF leader added, “Most people will be wondering why I have chosen to speak in favour of the amnesty project, even though I hate the tag amnesty, I know that the managers of the project have managed it so well to the benefit of the recipients.
“Today, thousands of young men and women are being trained as doctors, engineers and oil work men and I believe that if this project is expanded and the amnesty tag is dropped, the belief by most of us that we are been criminalized for standing up for our right will be removed and more people will benefit from the project…”