Niger Delta stakeholders and ex-agitators have called on former President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and they have prayed to God to grant the Spirit of the Late President Umaru Musa Yara’dua one more chance to come back to earth and advice his kinsman President Muhammadu Buhari on the significance of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme to the fragile Nigeria economy, and against the selfish activities of his National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Babagana Monguno (rtd.) because, Gen. Monguno is on the verge of driving Nigeria into an unnecessary crisis in the Niger Delta region, capable of destabilizing the Nigeria economy for years.

Speaking on behalf of the stakeholders and ex-agitators to, Chief Albert Douzigha stated that Nigeria is entering a great recession due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the cut in Nigeria’s oil production quota by OPEC. Nigeria is owing over $27 billion in external debts, while domestic debts have drastically increased in trillions of naira. Nigeria’s annual budget is over N8-trillion, with most sectors of the Nigeria economy relying on the monthly sale of crude oil and gas to remain viable, including the payment of millions of government workers salaries across the country. Nigeria needs peace and stability in the oil rich Niger Delta region to eventually increase its oil and gas production to fund these expenses on a monthly basis, and to fund numerous measures aimed at diversifying the Nigeria economy, including the payment of over $27 billion in external debts plus interests.

Chief Douzigha stated that Nigeria cannot afford to fight multiple wars in the midst of a recession, given the ongoing fight against ISWAP terrorists, Boko – Haram terrorists and Bandits across northern states. In-light of the looming recession, any competent NSA would understand that an implosion in the oil rich Niger Delta region at this peculiar time might throw Nigeria into chaos and possible disintegration because, the Nigeria military is stretched to its limits. “The Niger Delta region is filled with mind-blowing weapons and ammunitions, with millions of disgruntled, angry and unemployed youths wasting across the region, this is a recipe for disaster. Already the present security situation is terrible. Nigerians in the north are now relying on soldiers from Niger Republic and Chad Republic for protection within our territory, while thousands of northerners have fled from Nigeria to Niger Republic and Chad for safety due to failures emanating from the strategic office of the NSA – Gen. Monguno to effectively coordinate and formulate tactical policies with the service chiefs to eradicate ISWAP, Boko – Haram terrorists and bandits for almost 5 years.”

Senator Ibrahim Gobir representing Sokoto East also spoke about these horrible situations on the Senate floor. President Buhari must realize that he will give account to God, and the Almighty God is watching him if he fails to act because, Nigerians are dying like animals as we speak. Nigerians did not give President Buhari their mandates for him to remain silent in the face of gross incompetence being displayed by his NSA – Gen. Monguno, nor for the President to place his friendship with Gen. Monguno above the lives of ordinary Nigerians and their children for almost five years running. Chief Douzigha stated that despite a few shortcomings and lack of proper funding, “Nigerians should remain grateful to the men, women and the leadership of the Department of State Security (DSS), the Police and its leadership, especially the Honourable Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu for their stewardship, clandestine activities and sensitive information gathering which has saved the entire country from being run-over by wicked terrorists, bandits and criminals.

He said, from its inception in late 2009, the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme has maintained the peace and stability required for increased oil and gas exploration and production activities across the Niger Delta region. It enabled Nigeria as a country to fund its domestic and international obligations in billions of dollars. The Late President Umaru Musa Yara ‘dua in his wisdom understood the plight of the Niger Delta people whose lands and water have been devastated and polluted by oil and gas exploration and production activities, as other regions in the country remain unscathed, while receiving hundreds of billions of naira for their development at the detriment of the people in the Niger Delta region.

For example, in July 2015, the Federal Government obtained a $2.1 billion credit from the World Bank to rebuild the North-East zone devastated by the jihadist group, Boko Haram. The former President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim and the Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, who spoke at separate press conferences in Washington DC, United States, said that President Buhari asked them to focus on northern Nigeria. All these loans and interests will eventually be paid from oil and gas revenue from the Niger Delta region. Therefore, at best, the Federal government should consider the Presidential Amnesty Programme as a tiny sacrifice to appease the suffering people across the Niger Delta region whose polluted lands and water have fed Nigeria for over fifty years, the statement said.

Rather than to appreciate the sacrifices of the Niger Delta people, the NSA Gen. Monguno is working night and day to terminate the Amnesty Programme without allowing the programme to achieve its objectives. It will be extremely disastrous to terminate the Amnesty Programme prematurely. The 30,000 ex-agitators should be trained over a set period of time in various short-term technical and agro-business skills centers and the should be empowered. Their region has fed other regions across Nigeria amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars in over fifty years. Nigerians should seat back for a second and imagine over 30,000 former militants with access to arms roaming their communities, and oil and gas pipelines in the midst of a great recession, given the magnitude of Nigeria’s debts and obligations, the statement reads.

Chief Douzigha stated that upon his appointment as NSA in 2015, Gen. Monguno made it his mission to sabotage the continued implementation of the Peaceful Presidential Amnesty Programme. Gen. Monguno in 2015 got President Buhari to appoint his friend Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh as Amnesty Coordinator. Gen. Boroh told stakeholders and ex-agitators that the NSA Gen. Monguno emphatically instructed him to cease all forms of foreign training for Amnesty beneficiaries and ensure that the Amnesty Programme is terminated at the end of 2016. Gen. Boroh refused the NSA Gen. Monguno’s directives and his tenure ended in a disaster. Gen. Boroh was arrested, detained and he is presently facing trial for fraud, money laundering and corruption.

Gen. Monguno once again got President Buhari to appoint another of his friend Prof. Charles Quaker dokubo in March 2018. Gen. Monguno gave Prof. Dokubo the same directives to shut-down the Amnesty Programme which Prof. Dokubo systematically refused because he enjoyed the benefits of the office. Prof. Dokubo’s tenure was more chaotic and worse than Gen. Boroh, plagued with fraud, corruption, money laundering, sexual harassments, and abuse. Prof. Dokubo claim to have given the NSA Gen. Monguno the sum of N1.8-billion fully paid contracts through his aide. Furthermore, both Gen. Boroh and Prof. Dokubo complained to stakeholders and ex-agitators that Gen. Monguno’s frequent demands for payments and kickbacks to his aides and loyal friends in order to frustrate the successful implementation of Amnesty programme eventually paralyzed the Amnesty Programme and plagued it with favouritism, fraud and corruption.

On the 28th February 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Prof. Dokubo for allegations of fraud and corruption leveled against him. The NSA Gen. Monguno in his replacement, nominated a five-man committee composed of only Gen. Monguno’s friends without any person from the Niger Delta region. The move enabled Gen. Monguno to gain total control of Amnesty funds. However, in reacting to these developments, stakeholders and ex-agitators called on President Buhari to disband the interim committee established by Gen. Monguno and appoint a substantive Amnesty Coordinator from the grassroot.

The committee’s mandate expired in April. To make matters worse, the NSA Gen. Monguno and the Chairman of this fraudulent committee Amb. A. A. Lawal are now operating beyond the scope of their mandate by adding their signatures to the Amnesty bank account to make payments worth billions of Naira to enable them to receive kickbacks. Gen. Monguno has approved the termination of Amnesty staffs to frustrate the operations of the programme in the midst of an economic recession.

Chief Douzigha called on the former Presidents and Head of State to advice President Muhammadu Buhari to personally appoint a substantive Amnesty Coordinator from the Niger Delta region to avoid conflicting interests. The President should appoint someone that has earned the respect of youth leaders across the region, a leader that is capable of outlining the various degrees and vocational training and empowerment programs to reintegrate ex-agitators as originally envisioned, the statement reads.

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