By Joy Okosieme
Governor Douye Diri has expressed the willingness of the state and his other colleagues in the Niger Delta to collaborate with the Presidential Amnesty Office to achieve set goals.
Speaking in Government House, Yenagoa, when he played host to the Interim Coordinator of the programme, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), on Thursday night, he described the latter’s visit to the region as a step in the right direction.
Diri said there was need for collaboration between the office and governors of the region to enable the programme succeed.
The governor averred that it was not necessary to politicise the amnesty programme but rather ensure all stakeholders from the region forge a common front to achieve the desired goals.
He lauded the amnesty boss for the initiative of bringing the programme back home and advised him to set up a zonal office in the state for easy coordination.
The Bayelsa helmsman expressed worry over the preponderance of light weapons in the region and urged the amnesty coordinator to revisit the disarmament and demobilisation aspects of the programme.
He also condemned the looting of the amnesty training centre in Kaiama and urged youths of the region to embrace dialogue as a means of resolving issues rather than resorting to looting and protests over every slight provocation.
He lauded the sterling qualities of the amnesty boss and expressed confidence that with his wealth of experience, the amnesty programme will improve on the gains recorded and sustain the existing peace in the region.
His words: “This is not the time for us to politicise that programme. It is a programme that directly affects our youths in the various states that make up the presidential amnesty programme.
“These states, as you are aware, today have all the six governors in the Niger Delta region in the PDP. But let nobody deceive you that because they are PDP they are not ready to work with you. We are prepared to work with you. I in particular will ensure that you succeed in this amnesty programme, which we believe will add value to our youths.
“Let me also use this opportunity to address our youths, who at the slightest of provocation block the roads to protest. Please, it is not everything you go and protest about. There are different ways of achieving what you want to achieve.”
Earlier, the Interim Coordinator, Col. Dikio (rtd), said he was in Yenagoa as part of an initiative known as the “Back to the Niger Tour,” which aims to bring the amnesty programme from Abuja back to the region.