The presidency has described as erroneous the claim that the amnesty programme for ex-militants is a process to buy peace to sustain increase in crude oil production in the Niger Delta.
Coordinator of the amnesty programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, told participants at an entrepreneurial fair for ex-militants in Port Harcourt, Rivers State yesterday that the Federal Government had continued to sustain the scheme as a concept of security where human beings become the reference point.
Dokubo acknowledged that the people of the Niger Delta have been economically excluded in the past, but have resolved to change their narrative by availing themselves the opportunity that the amnesty programme offers for them to use their hands and intellect to attain height that will bring them as co-equal to every Nigerian.
“If the human being is secure, then the state will be secure. If food security is provided for our people, then there will be no problem. If economic security is provided through those who have empowered themselves through this programme, then the Niger Delta will turn to a place where there is innovation,” he said.
To stem unrest and boost economic activities in the Niger Delta, the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce urged the Federal Government to enforce the relocation of the headquarters of oil multinationals to the region.
The president of the chamber, Emi Membere-Otaji, said that enterprise revival and development in the oil producing region held the key to socio-economic stability and growth of the area.
Membere-Otaji said the government must show strong political will to develop the region and adopt the carrot and stick approach to tame the security challenges in the area.
“It is, therefore, pertinent that the government put into action the call by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, that oil companies relocate their headquarters to their areas of operations. In so doing, they will in tandem with the various governments develop the area,” he said.
To achieve the desirable impact, he suggested training the people, especially the youths and community leaders, to discard the “rent-seeking and entitlement mentality”, appreciate dignity of labour and stop being hostile to business activities in their localities.
The chamber lamented that most of the key oil-producing Niger Delta states are costal but with moribund seaports in Port Harcourt, Warri, Sapele and Calabar.
“It is worrisome that these ports are in different stages of decay with un-dredged channels, resulting in importers and exporters doing businesses in these ports now using the western ports in Lagos for their cargoes,” Membere-Otaji said.