Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Hon. Kingsley Kuku, has assured beneficiaries that the incoming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari would sustain the programme and the peace in the Niger Delta.
The outgoing PAP chairman gave the assurance in the United States at a meeting with foreign special scholarship beneficiaries held in Alabama and Washington DC as part of his valedictory visit to students in foreign institutions.
He said the amnesty programme was a very sensitive Federal Government initiative, which he believes the new administration will sustain in order not to jeopardise the lives and academic prospects of the young Nigerians that are beneficiaries.
A member of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Sadiq Yar’Adua, who also spoke at the Alabama meeting, affirmed that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government was committed to continuation of the programme.
No fewer than 238 students are undergoing various undergraduate and post-graduate programmes in over 20 higher institutions across the United States.
“There have been concerns over the fate of the amnesty programme following the victory of General Muhammadu Buhari in the March 28 presidential election. This is a federal government programme and I can assure you that it won’t be terminated by the new administration as being speculated.
“I believe Gen. Buhari loves education and I do not expect that he would do anything to jeopardise the future of these young and brilliant Nigerians. So, he will sustain the programme and the peace being enjoyed in the Niger Delta. Over the last few years, the amnesty programme has had a direct positive bearing on the peace and security of the region,” Kuku said.
He advised the students not to be distracted by the outcome of the elections back home but should rather focus on their studies and continue to pray for the incoming government.
“Scholarship is meant for brilliant students. So failure won’t be condoned. Eschew indiscipline and any act that will tarnish the image of your country. Be focused on your academic work as that is what guarantees a brighter future for you,” he admonished them.
He said rather than being disillusioned over the outcome of the presidential election, they should be proud about the exceptional statesmanship of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“President Jonathan opened a new chapter in Nigeria’s political history by conceding defeat. He not only doused the tension in the country but also disappointed the doomsayers who predicted that Nigeria would break in 2015. I’m happy to be a part of that history and I expect that you all will be proud to be Nigerians at this time,” he said.
Senator Sadiq Yar’Adua, in his remarks, urged the students to continue to be good ambassadors of Nigeria, saying the country belongs to every true citizen.
He described Kuku as a national asset, who deserves commendation for his handling of the amnesty programme and assured that it will be sustained by the Buhari administration.
“The amnesty programme is very dear to me. I have traversed the Niger Delta and I know the issues. I have seen how the region and the land of Nigeria has been devastated through oil exploration activities. The amnesty programme only scratched the surface of the original programme envisioned by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua for the Niger Delta. The APC believes in supporting those who produce the wealth of Nigeria and it is committed to continuation of the amnesty programme,” Yar’Adua said.
He paid glowing tributes to President Jonathan, saying Nigerians should be grateful to him for bringing succor to the country through his exemplary act of conceding defeat in the presidential election.
“President Jonathan will go down in history as one of the greatest Nigerian leaders, ” he said.