The head of Jumbo Major House Prof. Jasper Jumbo, speaks to newsmen on the need to re-jig the amnesty progremme in line with reality of the moment.Excerpts;
Introduce yourself sir.
I am Prof. Jasper Jumbo. I am a Niger Delta protagonist. I head the Jumbo major House of Bony in Rivers State. We are the landlords to both SHELL and LNG.
What is the problem stalling development in the Niger Delta despite the amnesty programme?
The history of development of Niger Delta is no longer the issue of federal government alone, it is the task and the challenges, the patriotism as well as developmental input of any reasonable Niger Delta elite.
One of the problems we have is our inability over the years to articulate eight year by eight year perspective master plan and projection as to how to internally generate or internally source fund or go into partnerships for the realization of the planned and phased developmental processes within the region.
Years back some of our boys were aggrieved by the fact that they were not getting measurable value or returns on what the nation state was extracting from their back yards.
They took up arms against the federal government or against the nation.
As God will have it our amnesty process was evolved, I recall vividly the background step I started in the house of one Nze Akachukwu in Maitama Abuja. Some of us made inputs in the blueprint document. It was handed over to His Excellency, Goodluck Jonathan, who presented it to His Excellency late President Yar’Adua and it became a reality.
I recall that as at that time I was one of the leaders sent abroad to source how best this programme could be implemented.
I went to fishermen institute for conflict resolution in Accra, Ghana. I even went as long as Brazil, where they have an institution that train about 2million Brazilians in 28 skill areas yearly.
We came up, we did a lot of programmatic areas of actions which were articulated, sent to both Timi Alaibe group and other government and skirmish development projects that are not holistic as far as I am concerned, that have not really addressed the key issue.
For me it is not personally or governmentally or even regionally sustainable; to be paying people who subscribe thirty five thousand naira for doing nothing every month; for how long. You train them and bring them back and you don’t have ways to employ them.
There is need to re-gig the whole thing. Look at some systems in the implementation of the amnesty agenda. There has to be a way of bringing in the local content on board, bringing in the oil industry and start to apply some of these original systems I thought out when I was writing the blue print of OMPADEC in those days.
We have to think of particular position by loaned manpower and economic cooperation. There are about four systems, let me not divulge all of them here.
All the idea of sending people abroad, you can arrange some of these things locally. Do some hands-on training after you have to teach them how to construct the road to their villages.
What have we all as a nation done with some of those their camps?
Have they transformed them to agricultural farms, fishing hubs or industrial hubs? What kind of arrangement have we made to develop cluster welding workshops in some of those areas so that they can now service the federal oil industries that are around their neighborhood?
We have to teach them skills not only to become employable but to become employers of labour. We have to teach them to become technicians that can become the contractors. Why these boys can’t be trained to handle NDDC jobs. Why can’t we have the buffer fault, either synergize with CBN, Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture so that reduced source of funding, where the loan they get the interest on it will be less as they apply it in executing road construction.
There are so many other things they can do. Why can’t you send them to Brazil, look at how they do marble, or to Spain?
China is a no go area now because of the corona virus but a lot of technology had evolved from some of these areas and there are so many more areas one can get technologies from.
So, I think what they need for amnesty programme is a visionary leader, a man that is emphatic, a man that will win the confidence of these boys or these young men.
Sit down, discuss with them and agree on how best to evolve that laudable programme.
I must thank his Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari for sustaining the programme thus far. He needs to do mere, he needs to produce counterpart funding, because most of the boys that supported him around the creeks, that helped to stop vandalization of installed national facilities in our oil locations have not really been taken care of.
In this regard, I think President Buhari means well and he deserves all the support.
If you are called to serve based on your years of experience, what will do?
I have to sit down, look at what is on ground, look at the short falls of the past managers of that portfolio, vis-a-vis our original projections on amnesty and how best to make it work and become useful to Nigerians.
Based on that collectively we project a template that we will implement. For me it should not be business as before.
Many of the people there are either not part of the struggle or even part of the militants and some of the militants themselves are coming to do as if they are god on earth. No, everybody has to level up.
So we need somebody who can look them eye ball to eye ball. If you tell me that you are a general. Good come and tell me what programme you want us to develop for you and your boys. You have to have the integrity, you have to have to have discipline to be able to put your feet and say no, enough is enough.
Do you want to have militants as assistants?
No, we are talking of federated Niger Delta developers.