Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, has met in Abuja with Niger Delta governors to discuss their requests for help.
They’ve asked him to fast-track development there and rehabilitate militants who have laid down their arms under the amnesty program.The meeting was held just as the government increased security in the oil-rich area.
VOA reporter Chinedu Offor, who is on assignment in Nigeria, says, “The governors of the area went to the President who is from the Niger Delta to remind him of the danger of not carrying out the government’s promises, and also to do something pretty quickly because some of the former militants are turning. Some are taking to armed robbery and also kidnapping, and that is affecting security in the area.”
While the President has taken measure to improve security in the area. The governors say this will not solve long term problems of the Niger Delta.
“If the militants are not given something to do or if they are not gainfully employed, they might turn to crime. The governors are saying while the government is beefing-up security, they should also beef-up development of the area and also do something about the promises made by President Yar, A’dua—that is not just to rehabilitate the militants but to give them some monthly stipends and take some of them abroad to train them. For those who want to stay in Nigeria, give them jobs”, said Offor.
President Goodluck Jonathan responded agreeably to the governors’ request to take action. He will direct the Niger Delta Development Commission that was set up to help carry out projects previously promised by President Yar ‘dua.
“On the rehabilitation of militants, it was agreed that within the next six months, about 2, 000 militants will be trained in batches, and they are hoping to get a total of about 20, 000. They are being trained in vocational training centers and education will be paid for up to the university level,” explained Offor.
Offor added job training will be in the oil services sector, business ownership, carpentry and mechanics. He said it is up to the militants to decide what it is they want to do.