Ramsey Oyakemeagbegha, an ex-militant leader, has pleaded with the Federal Government to sustain the Amnesty Programme beyond 2015.
He made the plea in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Yenagoa on Sunday.
Mr. Oyakemeagbegha, who benefited from the third phase of the amnesty programme, stressed the need for the extension to enable government address the challenges and neglects that necessitated the amnesty.
He said that ending the programme in 2015 would not augur well for the ex-militants that embraced the amnesty programme in the third phase in 2013.
“We in the third phase amnesty are also of the view that the programme should continue and not stop in 2015 as scheduled; so, I urged the Federal Government to review the schedule.
“The third phase came in not too long ago; even for those who started in the first phase there is not much on ground to engage them meaningfully.
“The communities are still largely underdeveloped and most of the things that triggered militancy are not attended to as expected”, he said.
Mr. Oyakemeagbegha further added that the people had yet to access potable water, good education and functional health facilities.
According to him, pollution occasioned by the oil industry still continues in addition to unemployed in the land.
“In the light of the above, making 2015 the end of the Presidential Amnesty Programme spells more trouble for our region and the nation”.
Mr. Oyakemeagbegha expressed concern on the rising incidents of pirate attacks on passenger boats and kidnappings in the creeks.
He reiterated the resolve of Niger Delta youth to support the new administration more so that President Muhammadu Buhari had pledged to develop the region.
The president had indicated his willingness to stick to the December 2015 terminal date for the amnesty programme but to further develop the Niger Delta region. The amnesty programme has gulped billions of naira since 2009 with critics saying it benefits only very few people, ex-militants, from the region; and it has not stopped oil theft and piracy in the region.