A former Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Chief Timi Alaibe yesterday said if efforts are stepped up to restore peace, safety and security in the Niger Delta, the nation may not resort to borrowing to fund the 2017 budget.
He spoke in Abuja as a guest on Thisday Live, a breakfast programme on Arise Television, Chief Alaibe who was also the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) blamed the continuing restiveness in the Niger Delta on the failure of successive Federal Governments to follow through with the Niger Delta Master Plan that was commissioned by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.
He said: “There is really nothing new to be said about the situation in the Niger Delta. All that needs to be said and all that we need to do and where we need to do them are succinctly captured in the Niger Delta Master Plan. If you have massive infrastructure, if you have good roads and bridges to open up the Niger Delta, you will not have the recurrence of incidences of militancy in the region.
“After President Obasanjo left office, I had the opportunity of briefing President Yar’Adua severally on the Master Plan and part of the briefing led to the Amnesty Proclamation and the Presidential Amnesty Programme for the Niger Delta but unfortunately, Yar’Adua died and the processes were not followed through after his death.”
The former NDDC chief said the Amnesty Programme derailed when the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan curiously stopped at the implementation of just one component of the Amnesty Programme.
According to him, the Amnesty Programme was modeled to focus on five main areas.
Aliabe said: “What you refer to as the Amnesty Programme today was originally designed to have five broad areas of focus, namely the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) of ex-agitators who accepted the offer of Amnesty.”