The current amnesty programme run by the Muhammadu Buhari administration is not sustainable based on current economic situations, Dr. Emmanuel Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, has said.
Mr. Charles Achodo, Special Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs to the Minister, made this known at the 7th Sustainability in the Extractive (SITEI) conference organised by CSR-In-Action in Abuja on Monday.
He said: “The amnesty is very clear, and it cannot be a solution to the state of insecurity in the Niger Delta. Rather, you use the amnesty to create an asymmetrical environment. A fragile environment does not like asymmetry; it likes more of a symmetrical response.
“A situation where you are paying people N65,000 every month to keep quiet; that does not solve the problem. If you multiply N65,000 by the number of militants and by the number of years the programme has been running, you are looking at close to N50 billion. That is a huge amount of money. It is not sustainable and it is not guaranteeing you what you expect in the place.”
Achodo also said the $40 billion invested in 11,000 projects in the Niger Delta region over the last 10 years has been a waste. He pointed out that the money was spent without concrete evidence.
“The Niger Delta has become a cacophony of voices, but without a purpose,” he said.
“It has also become a region with a cacophony of all kinds of projects. If you look closely from the past 10 years, up to $40 billion has been made available for that region and you can never tour the Niger Delta and see a N1 billion or a N500 million investment, but I am telling you, collectively, for the past 10 years, that was what has gone into that region.
“That amount was basically what was invested through NDDC and the Ministry of Niger Delta. If you check them, for instance, the NDDC has close to 11,000 contracts. With these contracts, mostly owned and held by people from the region, then you can understand that we are the ones doing ourselves in, for not implementing those projects. Eleven thousand contracts and if you distribute them all along, you are looking at close to $40 billion in terms of investment. Go to the Ministry of Niger Delta, it is the same thing.
“When you look at the Niger Delta Development Compact, which we have, which covered the short term, medium term, from now till 2021, you are looking at a total investment of N1.7 trillion that is earmarked for the region and that covered what the oil companies are putting into the region, what government agencies are putting into the region and all kinds of investments that are required in that region.”