Former commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Mr. Ebikabowei Victor-Ben, has applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for sustaining the Presidential Amnesty Scheme.
Victor-Ben popularly known as ‘General Boyloaf’ spoke on Tuesday at a peace rally to mark the day agitators willingly dropped their arms at the Yenagoa Peace Park.
The ex-agitator said that the president’s decision to continue with the amnesty programme on assumption of office in 2015 was a demonstration of his good intentions for youths of the Niger Delta region.
Victor-Ben applauded the pioneering role of former Governor of the state, Chief Timipre Sylva and other Ijaw leaders which culminated in the eventual proclamation of amnesty for repentant militants in the Niger Delta region.
Victor-Ben recalled how the late President Shehu Musa Yaradua contacted him through ex-governor Sylva to discuss the amnesty deal.
According to him, the reason which led to militancy in the Niger Delta was for economic emancipation of the people of the region to have a fair share out of the resources from the region that produces over 90 per cent of the national wealth.
He said that it was regrettable that prior to the programme, the Niger Delta region had nothing to show for its oil endowments because of the insensitivity of previous administrations in the country.
He called on self seeking politicians to stop distracting the president from carrying out good plans for the Niger Delta.
The former MEND leader said he had faith in the present administration adding that he looked forward to more policies targeted at the region.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Victor-Ben was honoured with peace award alongside the Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh (retd.), and Gov Seriake Dickson among others.