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…As Ondo Govt. seeks inclusion of 2000 youths
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, yesterday, reiterated that additional Niger Delta youths can only be enlisted in the programme by a presidential proclamation. He made the clarification in Abuja at a meeting with Hon. Agboola Ajayi, deputy governor of Ondo State.
Ajayi, who was at the Amnesty Office to seek the inclusion of about 2000 youths of Ondo State into the Amnesty Programme, explained that the youths who had been involved in various criminal acts including kidnapping, were peacefully disarmed over a year ago following the intervention of Ag. President Yomi Osinbajo.
“It was the acting President who said publicly that the Federal Government will offer Amnesty to Ondo youths after we had an incident where they kidnapped a group of persons. When we met the kidnappers during negotiation, they said they wanted amnesty. So, we said ok, we will give you amnesty and we spent huge funds to disarm them; since we disarmed them, Lagos, Ogun and Ondo states have been safe and peaceful”, he said, adding that inclusion of the youths in the Amnesty Programme was vital to the sustenance of peace in the Niger Delta.
In his response, Dokubo noted that though Ondo youths are part of the Niger Delta, it was not within the purview of his office to add more persons to those already captured in the database of the Amnesty Programme.
While emphasizing that inclusion of more persons into the programme was the prerogative of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dokubo however indicated the readiness of the Amnesty Office to collaborate with the Ondo State Government in the area of training the youths.
“Whatever palliative we can offer, we will gladly do; the money is not there, but in terms of training, our training facility in Ondo is there; we can give training to some of them, but their stipends should be provided by the Ondo State Government”, Dokubo remarked.