Terminating Amnesty Programme Will Deny Peace To Niger-Delta -Kuku | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Terminating Amnesty Programme Will Deny Peace To Niger-Delta -Kuku

Posted: Aug 10, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Former presidential adviser on Niger Delta Amnesty Programme and Special Adviser on Niger Delta, Kingsley Kuku in this interview with Yemi Akintomide  in Akure, explained the genesis of Amnesty Programme and its success story, controversy surrounding his office as well as his likely governorship ambition in Ondo State come 2016. Excerpts: 

Kingsley Kuku

Kingsley Kuku

As the former presidential adviser on Niger Delta amnesty, how has the Presidential Amnesty Programme impacted the socio-economic, political and the security of the area viz-avis Nigeria at large?

I would like to give an analysis. Firstly, before the proclamation, the main strength of our economy is oil, and the oil and gas infrastructure is domicile in the Niger/Delta predominantly in Lagos State where you have a lot of their offices in Lekki and they are flying from platform to shopper with helicopter and others which is one thing we are supposed to do. If you want to take the oil in Ilaje, you need to site your office in Igbokoda or anywhere you want to site it in Ilaje, likewise in Ese-Odo, where any operational office in those areas will bring about some forms of empowerment, employments and development for our people. But when you take my oil and you leave the destroyed environment, while your office is at Lekki in Lagos State where every benefits are taken to while we suffer here the impact and every adverse effect of the oil you have taken. I do want to say that the crisis really dropped production from 2.6 million barrel per day in each of the crisis restiveness in the Niger/Delta to 700,000 barrel per day. The impact was negatively amazing from 2.6millon barrel to 700,000 barrel per day. Nigeria lost 1.9million barrel per day. I can remember a particular day in 2008, we produced 684,000 barrel per day.

But to God be the glory, when the amnesty programme was proclaimed, just one or two month’s production rose to 1.9million barrels per day and at 2013, when I was managing the amnesty programme, production was between 2.2million and 2.4million barrels per day for the entire year, our production in 2014 rose to 2.6million and at a point NNPC was even, as part of their propagation, projecting the possible production if allowed by OPEC quota, 3milliom barrels per day, is that not beautiful? Even today, despite the difficulties in the economy, our production is stable between 2million barrels to 2.2million barrels (all plus) even today. So, today is not a question of production but a question of global price of oil which is affecting our economy now, it is not production. So the Niger-Delta has been stable, its impact positively has being that the violence our people (Niger-Delta) kept to experiencing.

Can you mention some of these benefits?

Firstly, business returned to normalcy, the Nigerian economy improved, oil production rose from 680,000 barrels per day to 2.6million barrels per day. Economy improved drastically, infrastructural development commenced and these added money to implement the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, so, these are the implications. That is why today, some of us are concerned that if the Niger-Delta negatively must dive into that era again, in a period where the price of oil is very low now, we are going to be in very terrible time, but we are praying very hard to make sure that, that does not happen. Christians have been praying and God has been answering our prayers in Nigeria. In fact, I had said it several times that former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan lost that election so that we would not experience war. If he had won, there would have been very serious war in Nigeria and because Christians interceded, although they wanted Jonathan to win but they also didn’t want war and God didn’t want to give the two. So, they have to accept how God had destined it to be. In fact, there is nothing Jonathan hasn’t gotten when we talk about political position in this country (from deputy governor to president). So, re-contesting for the presidency is a repetition of that position. There was nothing new; so it was better to spare the lives of Nigerians. That was how God intervened, for me I am part of that history. So, the impact of the Amnesty programme of the Niger/Delta is that peace has returned, the security situation has stabilized. Our people are no more in regular conflict with the Nigerian Army, we are no longer loosing lives of our youths, peace has returned, local economy and likewise the Nigerian economy have improved. So we pray that this stability should continue. The continuity of the Amnesty programme, with observant improvement upon some of the things we didn’t get right in our time, I could not have gotten everything right during my tenure as the CEO of the Amnesty programme because I never had a reference, there were no books for me to look at, the way some people were doing it before, so that I can do it better, I am the one they want to look at now. So, whoever is coming after me is going to review what I have done. I just hope they will review and get the programme better. We have done a good thing that are right while some are wrong and those things that were wrong, there is room for them to build on them. The Amnesty programme is the only programme of benefit to the people of Niger-Delta today. Any touch on the Amnesty programme, with a view to terminating it, is likely to deny the Niger/ Delta of peace and we do not pray for such. I do believe that the current administration is going to get the programme better, I believe that President Muhammadu Buhari led government is going to make the Amnesty programme better, they will review what we have done and they will improved on it. Why do I believe this? If you look at the way he is taking his time, I do believe that they are looking at the programme. And I have appealed fervently to the beneficiaries to continue to ensure that there is peace. I have appealed to the delegates to maintain calmness despite the hard time they are facing because in every period of transition there is possible delay in sustainability or implementation of a programme. They will continue with the policies that we left behind that they believed tallies with their own policy and programmes and vision for Nigeria. Those that they want to reviewed for the better in their own wisdom, they will review it. I think they are reviewing the Amnesty programme and I pray that the review bring better positive results for the Niger/Delta and Nigeria.