President Muhammadu Buhari –
The Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, IYC, has said the N65bn budget for the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme, as contained in the 2017 budget, will not be enough to douse crisis in the region.
The body was reacting to the increase in the proposed budget for the Niger Delta’s amnesty programme from N20bn to N65bn in the budget submitted to a joint session of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.
The council’s Spokesman, Eric Omare, said on Thursday that people from the region should not celebrate the increase
Omare, while describing the increase as exploitative, maintained that it would only enable the Federal Government to meet its targeted daily output of oil from the region.
He argued that attention should rather be on how much was budgeted and released to the Niger Delta Development Commission, the Niger Delta Ministry and the Federal Ministry of Works to carry out developmental projects in the oil-rich coastal areas.
He said, “To put in in a proper perspective, it should be noted that this increase is not for development of the Niger Delta, but for security and probably a bit of human capacity development.
“The attention should be on how much is budgeted and released to the NDDC, the Niger Delta Ministry, the Ministry of Works concerning the Niger Delta. Those are the areas we should be interested in.”
He, however, thanked the President for the increment in the amnesty budget, stressing that it was a “right step in the right direction.”
He added, “We need to commend him, however. But this move has to be genuine. It is one thing to propose a budget, another for it to be passed and yet another thing for it to be released.”