Protests Rock Niger Delta Amnesty

By Ikenga Chronicles November 29, 2019

Protests Rock Niger Delta Amnesty

–Dum Syl Aminikpo

It is November in Port Harcourt, the headquarters of Rivers State. The sun hasn’t been friendly, and it wasn’t showing any sign of abating. But it wasn’t just the sun that wasn’t impressed with the day, at the Rivers State Liaison office of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, another group gathered. They too were not happy.

They stood in the sun, their yellow helmets gleaming in consonance with the fiery rays, their placards, with similar colour expressing varying degrees of anger, also added to the sadly beautiful scene.

‘BUHARI MUHAMMADU BUHARI LED GOVERNMENT MUST HEAR THIS!’, roared one.

Another popped out from the crowd, its message on white cardboard, the desire as courageous and distinct as the card on which it was borne.

‘BACK TO CLASS OR BACK TO CREEK. PROF DOKUBO CHOOSE FOR US’.

The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Professor Charles Dokubo was in Port Harcourt and they had come to express their grievances with the way the project was being coordinated. Many were trainees of the project from training centres across the region and they had besieged the office and wanted to hear from the coordinator.

According to the protesters, the Amnesty programme is in three phases – Disarmament, Rehabilitation and Reintegration. After the first two stages, they were now at the final phase being the most crucial as it served as an opportunity for beneficiaries to be empowered with life skills. This stage began on the 3rd of July 2019 but they were asked to go home on the 31st of October 2019 due to lack of funding. A trainee on transformer repairs at the Brainbox Centre at Rivers State University said the contractor was not paid. He said he was sad because he was already learning so much before the halt.


Another said he came out to join the protest because he wanted to hear the reason for the halt in the training from a reliable source.

Sadly, Professor Dokubo didn’t come out. His Special Assistant on Media- Mophey Gana who did was immediately surrounded by the crowd. Questions were tossed from all corners. Mophey spoke to calm the trainees that had multiplied from the initial set and assured that they would get back in a week.

As the seventh day draws closer, the threats linger. The Presidential Amnesty Programme that was applauded for bringing peace to the Niger delta is rocked by many not-so-enviable stories. Many have complained that Professor Charles is deviating from the core mandates of the programme and was rather delving into procuring things that weren’t needed in any way.

Will the boys go back to the creeks, or will the Prof act in time by supplying the needed funds to the vendors so they can continue their training?  

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