Post Amnesty Agenda; Yar’Adua Summons Militant Leaders To Aso Rock – President Umaru Yar’Adua has summoned Henry Okah, leader of Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) and other militant leaders to a meeting in Aso Rock Friday.
The decision for the meeting was reached last night in Abuja. P.M.News reports that the president will use the forum to unfold his post-amnesty agenda for the troubled Niger Delta.All militant leaders are expected at the meeting scheduled for noon Friday.
Key leaders of the militants like Henry Okah of MEND and his commanders, Tompolo, Ateke Tom, Boyloaf and others who embraced the Federal Government’s amnesty are expected to attend. Key government functionaries and top security personnel are expected to attend as well.
Close sources told P.M.News that the president specifically instructed that Henry Okah, who leads MEND be invited. His group has so far shunned the amnesty offer and has threatened to renew the offensive that had caused extensive damage to Nigeria’s oil sector, because government was yet to address the fundamental issues that triggered the armed conflict in the Delta.
Some of the carrots the president may offer will include paying royalty bonuses of up to 5 percent to communities where oil is drilled, and also increasing the 13 percent derivation fund from the Federation Account.
The President had broached some of the ideas he has with governors of the region and they seem to believe the concessions will heal the open wounds of the region.
Already, the 60-day amnesty granted the militants to lay down their arms and embrace peace have yielded positive results as there are indications that the nation’s oil production may soon climb to 2.5 million barrels per day.
Minister of Defence, Major General Godwin Abbe (retd) had reassured the militants that surrendered their arms and ammunition that they would be fully rehabilitated.
The United States is said to be planning measures that would ensure that its oil companies operating in the Niger Delta improve the lot of the host communities.