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Stop amnesty policy, it’s counter-productive, stakeholders urge FG

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•DDRR Programme in Northeast must be citizen-driven

Godsgift Onyedinefu

The Federal Government has been urged to stop the proliferation of an open-ended Amnesty Programme, which involves payment of monthly stipends to ex-combatants but instead focus on measures that encourages dialogue, Disarmament, Demobilisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DDRR) of ex-fighters in a sustainable manner.

Key stakeholders in the Rehabilitation and Reintegration (Rand R) framework in Nigeria argued that the programme has been counter-productive, saying it has only encouraged the proliferation of arms and weapons across the country.

The Programmes Coordinator, Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PRESCOM), Mr. Dickson Orji, speaking at a one-day Policy Dialogue on Developing and Implementing Effective Rehabilitation and Re-Integration Frameworks in Nigeria, organised by the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) in Abuja on Wednesday urged FG to find alternative means of livelihood to ex-militants.

According to him, paying ex-militants endlessly is capital intensive and not sustainable. He also alleged that some politicians, governors and other vested interests have tried to include individuals who are not militants into the programme because of the stipend paid.

He said: “Government should remove the Amnesty mechanism, it’s counter-productive , paying militants monthly salary should stop, some militants even use the money to get more weapons some if there receive amounts higher than se civil servants.

“The idea of paying militants monthly endlessly may encourage other people, they will think that if they don’t carry arms they won’t get anything from the government.

“There are some cases where some state governors are making case with the office of the Special Adviser to the President to incorporate some people and you begun to wonder if those people being incorporated to the Amnesty programme, are militants or if they submitted their arms.”

“Government should find alternative livelihood project, such as vocational training, paying school their fees for those who want to go back to school. How long can we sustain paying them monthly endlessly?”

The stakeholders further stressed that an effective Reintegration and Rehabilitation particularly in the Northeast will be achieved if it is citizen driven and involves the community. They said military should not be directly involved in R and R Programmes as some civilians sometimes see them as perpetrators .

They added that Rand R Programmes must also involve community and traditional leaders.

The stakeholders noted that there is no interface between offenders and victims saying some victims are sometimes not emotionally prepared to face repentant perpetrators. They called for interface to enhance forgiveness and healing.

A representative from the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Mr. Simeon Oludele-Ajiboye, called on Local Government Authorities, Civil Society Organizations (CSO) to create a grievance mechanism or strengthen existing ones, a platform where victims ventilate and state their grievances to facilitate healing.

The stakeholders also called for effective monitoring of Rand R processes to ensure that returnees remain in the communities they are integrated into and to ensure transparency in the budget allocated for Rand R. They said community leaders must be actively involved in the monitoring.

They stakeholders also stressed that victims should be prioritised in Rehabilitation programmes too.

if there receive amounts higher than regards civil servants, they will think that it’s the way to the start a new life for the person and end it at that.

It’s capital intensive to keep them and pay them monthly and it looks like, ‘if I don’t carry arms I don’t get anything from the government” some if there receive amounts higher than regards civil servants,

There are some cases where some state governors are making case with the office id the special adviser to the president to incorporate some people and you begun to wonder white those people being incorporated to the Amnesty’ programme, are they militants? did they submit their arms? These are things that needs to be cleared before we pat militants endlessly.

Alternative livelihood project, preliminary, put it through vocational training school pay their fees, how long can we sustain paying them monthly endlessly.


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