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PANDEF Petitions Buhari Over PAP

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The Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) leadership and membership have written an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari to express their grave concerns about the future of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) and to warn of potential threats to the country’s peace, stability, economic prosperity, and Niger Delta region’s development.
They described as quite disturbing recent happenings and media reports, regarding the possible termination of the programme, possibly before the end of the administration, and the vile silence of his government on the matter.
In the letter signed by National Leader, Edwin Clark, and 34 others, titled: “Our Concerns On The Future Of The Presidential Amnesty Programme” they noted that although news reports, within the last 48 hours, stated that “the Federal Government has rescinded the plan to terminate the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP)”, but the rumours of the winding up of the programme and the alleged delisting of about 3,000 beneficiaries have already sparked anxiety in the Niger Delta.
The letter read in parts: “We recall that similar speculations were strewn in 2020, before the appointment of Col. Milliard Dixon Dikio (rtd) as interim administrator of the programme, in August of that year.
“PANDEF issued strong statements and warned against the plan, at the time.
“Mr. President, these ‘underhand’ tactics, marked by secrecy and chicanery, are improper and unthoughtful of the realities in the region. They are also, definitely, not in the best interest of the peace and stability of the Niger Delta region, and the friable economic situation of the country.
“It is insidious for government, at any level, to take critical decisions, capable of impacting negatively on the peace and stability of the society, merely on solipsistic references, without proper situational awareness, and due consideration of the ramifications.
“We had discussed these concerns at our extraordinary meeting held on Thursday, October 20, 2022, and reflected the same in the communiqué therefrom.
“PANDEF cautions the Federal Ggovernment against any ill-advised plan to terminate the Presidential Amnesty Programme given the rumours that the government is scheduling to wind up the programme before the end of the Buhari administration;
“The meeting further warns that considerations that the Presidential Amnesty Programme could be scrapped due to a pipeline surveillance contract awarded to a private firm, are not only illogical but unacceptable.
“Notes that the Amnesty Programme was an intervention to promote peace and stability in the Niger Delta; thus, any attempt to prematurely end the programme would be detrimental to the peace and stability of the Niger Delta.
“Going forward, the Amnesty Programme should be extended to include the full re-integration of all beneficiaries.”
Continuing, PANDEF reminded Buhari the circumstances that led to the proclamation of the Presidential Amnesty by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on June 25, 2009.
“We remember that, upon the willful surrender and handing over of arms and ammunition, and the execution of the renunciation of militancy by the youths, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, on October 9, 2009, met with governors and other critical stakeholders of the Niger Delta region, including the ex-militant leaders and committed to the terms of the amnesty.
“The objective of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), which has been described by experts as a “masterpiece” peace and security strategy by the Federal Government of Nigeria, is to mitigate youth restiveness as well as stabilise, consolidate and sustain security conditions in the Niger Delta region; and allow for socioeconomic and infrastructural development.
“And, like all other DDR programmes, globally, the Presidential Amnesty Programme for Niger Delta ex-agitators was also designed to encourage trust and confidence, and deal with the root causes of conflict. With the ultimate aim to prevent return to violent conflicts in the Niger Delta, and indeed make peace irreversible.
“Sadly, recent developments around the programme are eroding the trust and confidence that have been gained over the past years.
“While we are not unaware of the fact that the programme was conceived and designed to last for a specific period, it is important to underscore that existing realities make thoughts of ending the programme unrealistic. Given that several of the already demobilized ex-agitators are still undergoing different forms of training in institutions within and outside the country.
“Appreciably, the programme has met the Disarmament and Demobilisation (DD) aspects of the DDR, but the reintegration phase of programme has not yet been achieved, and therefore, should be allowed to continue.
“Besides, Your Excellency, little or nothing, has been done about the other major components of the amnesty protocol to buffer the situations that resulted in the conflict, like infrastructural development on a coordinated and transformative scale, including the completion of the East-West Road; and the implementation of deliberate policies to escalate economic development in the region as well as issues of environmental remediation and ecological restoration.
“Consequently, any unguided and hasty termination or alteration of the Programme would be an act of bad fate and a threat to the ‘fragile peace’ in the region. The feedback we are getting is that the youths are angry!
“It is better to adequately manage the peace achieved, so far, by the amnesty programme than to allow detrimental infractions.
“To say the least, it is very unfair that whereas other intervention programmes such as the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), continue with their training activities, which, majorly favour beneficiaries from the North while candidates from the South are relegated, the government is tinkering with the Presidential Amnesty Programme. This is the height of injustice and avoidable provocation on the people of the Niger Delta.
“It is even more disturbing that these irksome tendencies are being contemplated at the twilight of your administration. It is impossible to speculate that Mr. President desires to hand over a crisis-ridden Niger Delta to his successor.
“We urge that you tread with caution on issues concerning the Niger Delta region. It will suffice to footnote that no single individual or effort can sustain peace in the Niger Delta!”
PANDEF demanded a categorical statement from the Presidency “substantiating the status of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, to douse the brewing tension in the region.
“Halt the unilateral delisting of beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme and the immediate reinstatement of youths purportedly delisted.
“Mr. President should, as a matter of necessity, urgently convene a meeting with critical stakeholders of the Niger Delta region, including the governors, elders, and Leaders as well as the ex-militant leaders, for consultation and input, on a realistic, practicable and acceptable schedule for the Presidential Amnesty Programme and other related issues. Just as President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua did before the commencement of the amnesty programme.
“Appoint a substantive coordinator for the Presidential Amnesty Programme to end the ‘Interim’ phenomenon that has characterized agencies of the Federal Government with direct bearing on the Niger Delta.”

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We Get Petrol At N200 Per Litre From Depots, IPMAN Cries Out

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has decried the ‘unsustainable’ price that the private depot owners sell the premium motor spirit, otherwise known as petrol in the country.
Speaking, yesterday, on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, the Deputy National President of IPMAN, Zarama Mustapha, revealed that the private depots get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from the sole importer of the commodity, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, however, sell it for as high as N195 to N210 to independent marketers, which is not sustainable.
“Though marketers get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from NNPC depots, the company does not have enough storage facilities to cater to the needs of marketers, hence, the latter resorts to private depot owners. It is more of the issue of private depots collecting the products at the approved price and not selling to the independent marketers at a price approved by the mainstream, downstream regulatory authority.
“You cannot get a product at N195 to N200 and expect to sell it at N175,” he noted.
The IPMAN official said depot owners give excuses such as the cost of transporting the product from the mother vessel to their depots and escalation of the dollar as reasons for the price hike.
Mustapha lamented that most Lagos depots are in a chaotic situation and marketers spend three days to load refined petrol that they are not supposed to spend more than three hours to lift.
He urged the NNPC to engage depot owners to sell the product to marketers at the recommended price, saying the common man is at the receiving end.
For weeks, vehicle owners have had a tough time getting petrol from filling stations, especially in Lagos and Abuja.
Whilst many outlets are closed, the few open ones sell the indispensable commodity for as high as N250 per litre from the uniform price of N169/litre.
The supply shortage has led to long, gruelling snake-like queues at the few open filling stations as motorists and business owners jostle to buy fuel while others resort to the black market.
The situation has also worsened traffic on major roads as vehicle owners block at least one lane to join queues to filling stations.

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Make Nigerian Youths Innovative, Buhari Tells Corporate Leaders

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President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked leaders of corporate organisations to build the capacity of Nigerian youths to be innovative and embrace technology to make positive contributions to their organisations and the nation.
The president, represented by the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, said this at the Institute of Directors (IoD) 2022 Annual Director’s Conference (ADC), yesterday, in Lagos.
The ADC had as its theme: “Corporate Governance and Digital Transformation: Leading Purposefully for Growth and Sustainability.”
Buhari, noting that the challenges associated with corporate governance were multifaceted, stressed the need for heads of organisations to harness technology to achieve effective governance.
He reiterated the commitment of his administration to providing the necessary legal support and framework to support the entrenchment of good corporate governance practices across various sectors of the economy.
Buhari also pledged his commitment to supporting the IoD by giving the institute’s chartered bill the necessary consideration to enable it to achieve its mandate.
Deputy Secretary General, United Nations, Ms Amina Mohammed, said the world was hit by a series of global crises which have affected the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Mohammed said technology and digitalisation would set the era of digital transformation in areas of health, education, agriculture and finance.

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Nigeria Does Not Belong To North, Arewa Youths Tell Northern Elders

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The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has said that Nigeria does not belong to the North ahead of the 2023 general election.
Apparently reacting to the recent interview granted by a member of the Northern Elders Forum, Alh Sani Zango Daura, in which he called on the North to support a Northern candidate.
The AYCF, in a statement issued by its National President, Yerima Shettima, noted that supporting a southerner was clearly a demonstration of justice.
He noted that this was because Nigeria does not belong to the North alone, or Muslims and Christians of the North, insisting that “even on moral grounds, the most responsible political action by the North was the decision on powershift in 2023, because the Presidency cannot be hereditary and Nigeria is not a Banana Republic”.
Shettima further said, however, that the elder was expressing his personal opinion and not the stand of the North in general, saying that a “ little balancing was needed in position of our father Zangon Daura, more so when he admitted that the elders are mere escorts for the younger generation today”.
The AYCF noted that when 13 Northern governors led by Kaduna State Governor, Mal Nasirel-Rufai endorsed a Southern candidate for the 2023 presidency, they repeatedly cited political justice.
“Though we are not card-carrying members of the APC, we shared the view that the decision was in line with being fair to the South in 2023.
“We are aware, as well as our father ZangonDaura, that the North is respected for honouring its promises to the South and this one absolutely undeniable character of all Northerners.
“We are not known to break promises and that explains why our son, President MuhammaduBuhari never objected to the idea of a Southern presidential candidate in the ruling party. In the North, like our father ZangonDaura knows, promises are sacred and in fact a culture”.
It would be recalled that in a viral audio of AlhajiZangonDaura while addressing a group of youths, suggested that they should throw their weight behind a fellow Northerner for the presidency in 2023, citing historic and religious instances, something the AYCF said it believed was “overtaken by events, current realities, and the spirit of justice and fairness in the Nigerian project”.

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