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Ex-agitators push for amnesty coordinator of Akwa Ibom origin

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Ex-agitators Forum of the Presidential Amnesty Programme has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a qualified indigene of Akwa Ibom State origin as the next Special Adviser/National Coordinator of the programme.

Leader of the forum, Comrade Imoh Stephen Okoko, in a statement yesterday called for the restructuring of the initiative to include representatives of the different states of the Niger Delta.

He argued that it would be just to appoint an indigene of Akwa Ibom extraction since other ethnic nationalities had occupied the exalted office.

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He said: “We wish to remind the presidency of the significant role of Akwa Ibom State as a major stakeholder in the Nigerian project nay the Niger Delta project considering the huge contributions the state has made to the country and the region in term of oil revenues as a major oil-producing state.

“Unfortunately, since the enunciation of the Amnesty programme, successive administrations have failed to accord the state its pride of place through appointments to key positions in the Amnesty Office, including the position of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta/National Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (CPAP).

“Sadly, other ethnic nationalities within the region, particularly the Ijaw, have always been given the monopoly of occupying the leadership positions of the Amnesty Programme as if it were their birthright, while the Ibibio nation is treated as ‘second class’.”

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He continued: “For instance, the first chairman of the programme, Major General Godwin Abbe (rtd) hails from Benin City, Edo State. His successor, Timi Alaibe, is from Bayelsa State, followed by Kingsley Kemebradigha Kuku from Arogbo, Ondo State. There were also Brigadier General P.T. Boroh from Sagbama, Bayelsa State; and Professor Charles Quaker Dokubo from Abonnema in Rivers State.

“These states and ethnic nationalities have had their own share of the programme’s leadership – and it would only be fair and expedient – that Akwa Ibom State be considered in the next appointment. We have been very silent for too long as a mark of respect for the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but we cannot continue to remain so longer than necessary. Our silence should not be taken for granted, neither should it be considered as a mark of weakness.”

Okoko further averred: “For fairness, equity and justice, we hereby strongly demand for the appointment of a qualified indigene of Akwa Ibom State as the next Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta/National Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.”

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