Militancy now thing of past In N’Delta, amnesty Chief tells EU
The Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Dixion Milland Dikio (rtd.) has said that militancy had become a thing of the past in many oil-producing communities in the Niger Delta region.
This is just as the European Union disclosed that it has spent €250m in the region since 2008. The amnesty chief, who spoke in Abuja during a meeting with the EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said that peace has returned to the region, adding that the scheme is now concerned with ensuring food security and developing the blue economy of the region.
He said the PAP would continue to work closely with stakeholders to achieve a sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and job creation in the region.
“We, in the amnesty programme, are concerned with food security and the whole gamut of the blue economy.
“The framework for achieving that is to focus on the young people between the ages of 12-18 years, because we believe that giving them a new outlook on life will stem the tide that leads to deviant behaviours.
“Therefore, we want to collaborate with the EU to address the root causes of instability in the Niger-Delta region,” he said.
Dikio added that the amnesty office was also exploring what he described as the ‘heart and mind’ approach to conflict resolution in the region.
According to him, “We don’t believe that every problem with the nail needs a hammer, because we are at peace with our people. We listen to them and proffer solution.
“We are not able to meet all their problems, but we are pointing them to other ways of expressing grievances. That’s why you have relative peace in the Niger-Delta.”
In her remarks, the EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Samuela Isopi, said though all of the union’s projects in the Niger-Delta are coming to an end, the EU will focus its next development agenda on addressing the climatic and environmental impact of oil exploration in the region.
Represented by Thomas Kieler, who is the Head of Political Affairs Office, EU delegation to Nigeria, Isopi endorsed Dikio’s assessment on the need to address the root causes and the underlying issues bedeviling the Niger-Delta.
“The EU is a long standing partner in the Niger-Delta. In the region, we have been active since 2008.
“We have been there with a big development and programme called the Niger-Delta Support Programme. There have been a number of other projects, those projects are coming to an end, but we would like to keep our focus on the Niger-Delta and to address the current situation and assist the local area and the population towards prosperity and development,” the EU Ambassador said.