By Azubuike Okeh
Port Harcourt – The National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP) has urged the Rivers Government to follow due process in implementing its amnesty programme for repentant cultists and criminals in Ogoni.
NYCOP’s President, Dr Young Nkpah, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt on Monday.
Nkpah, who was reacting to the amnesty offer by the state government, said that the government neglected recognised Ogoni institutions in the exercise.
According to him, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, KaGOTE and NYCOP were never consulted by the representatives of government.
He said that it was crucial for the government to liaise with relevant traditional institutions for the amnesty programme to succeed.
It would be recalled that following the resurgence of violence in Ogoni, the state government recently approved the granting of amnesty to repentant criminal gangs and cultists.
NAN reports that the state government had refused to offer state pardon to repentant cultists in Ogoni due to alleged failure to submit their weapons.
Mr Ken Chindah, head of the state government’s amnesty committee, had said that the weapons submitted were not commensurate with the level of violence in the area.
However, Nkpah said that the process would have been successful if the state government had worked with the people and recognised institutions in Ogoni.
“Now they are saying that arms submitted were not enough and were not proportionate to the level of violence in Ogoni.
“I think that better results would have been achieved if the people were involved, at least, Ogoniland is owned by people,’’ he said.