Kuku to Tinubu:Amnesty Programme Not A Drain Pipe

Kingsley_Kuku 600Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Mr Kingsley Kuku has strongly condemned comments credited to former Lagos State Governor and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, that the amnesty programme is a drain pipe.
Kuku said it is regrettable that as a former executive governor of a state like Lagos, his stock-in-trade is not only to politicize every policy or programme of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration but also vilely tries to achieve political capital through such less than salutary criticisms.
He challenged the APC leader to show proof of his allegations against the amnesty programme.
He noted that as a security stabilization programme for the hitherto restive Niger Delta, the amnesty programme has achieved its objective through well thought-out vocational training and formal education schemes for the former agitators in the region.
The PAP chairman threw the following posers to the former distinguished Senator: “Is it a programme that has trained no fewer than 16,000 Niger Delta youths in three years that is a drain pipe? Is it a scheme through which Commercial Pilots have been produced for Nigeria that is a conduit pipe? What about the delegates currently undergoing jet/type-rating training at the Lufthansa Pilot Institute in Germany? Is it a programme that is producing aviation professionals, aeronautical engineers, marine/maritime technicians and technologists that is a conduit?”
Kuku said it is easy, because of the selective amnesia of a few, to forget where we were as a nation economically a few years ago.
“Prior to the amnesty proclamation four years ago, violent agitations by youths and communities virtually crippled economic and social activities in the Niger Delta, which is the nation’s economic mainstay. At the peak of the crisis in 2009, Nigeria’s crude production fell from 2.2million barrels per day to as low as 700,000 barrels per day. Today, following the proclamation and implementation of the amnesty programme, crude production hovers between 2.4 million and 2.6 million barrels per day.
“Generally, the DDR programme for the former agitators has met the desired goal, which is the stabilization of security conditions in the strategic Niger Delta. All the ex-agitators who were in the creeks fighting against the federal government and impacting against investments and oil production have since been fully disarmed, demobilized and are either currently in training or have since been trained with a view to adding to national GDP and improving themselves and their families.
“A total number of 30,000 persons are enlisted in the Amnesty Programme. Of this number, over 16,000 have been deployed to universities as well as vocational training centres within the country and abroad for various skills acquisition programmes and formal education. Their courses of study include Law, Political Science, International Relations, Engineering, Accounting and Medicine. In the United Kingdom alone, there are 570 students in 14 universities just as there are other delegates in universities in Belarus, South Africa, Malaysia, Russia, United States of America, Murdoch University and Canadian University both in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. There are also 1,077 beneficiaries in five private universities in Nigeria.
“A total of 2,299 delegates are currently undergoing various forms of skills acquisition in Nigeria and other parts of the world. For vocational training, beneficiaries are in France, United States of America, Italy, Greece, Poland, South Korea, Israel, Belarus, Romania, United Kingdom, Croatia, Cyprus, United Arab Emirates, Trinidad & Tobago, South Africa, Ghana, Jordan, India, Vietnam and the Philippines. Their career choices range from Marine Technology, Diving, Agriculture, Drilling, Boat Building, Oil and Gas Technology, Automobile Technology to Aviation.
“These are verifiable facts and not imaginary tale. The reality is there for all to see and assess. The focused implementation of the amnesty programme has attracted to it and the President Goodluck Jonathan administration global acclaim. No wonder the President’s traducers have targeted the programme!
“In case the former governor has forgotten, the amnesty programme not only ensured that peace returned to the Niger Delta, but it also engendered the conducive environment for the Nigerian economy to rebound from the brinks, which today favours his several business interests in the Niger Delta and outside of it. It is said that those who live in glass houses don’t throw stones.”
Kuku advised him and his ilk not to unnecessarily politicize a sensitive scheme like the amnesty programme as the gains to the nation far outweigh any monetary consideration now or in the future.

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