It was with great relief that we received the news of plans by the presidential committee on prerogative of mercy to visit some prisons in the country and grant amnesty to some suspects who have been incarcerated for various offences by the federal authorities.
It was also gratifying to learn that some elements in the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has pronounced a ceasefire and also accepted to dialogue with the presidential adviser on the Niger Delta and chairman of the amnesty office, Hon Kingsley Kuku on the pathway to a lasting peace in the region.
For us as former leaders of militant camps in the region, we cannot but commend the committee on prerogative of mercy on one hand and MEND on the other, for these initiatives that will eventually usher in peace in the land. We have always campaigned for this and will always support any move that will promote. This is the only way that the much needed development can be noticed and appreciated in the region.
We have always had this confidence in the person and abilities of Hon Kingsley Kuku. We have always believed that he has the magic wand to handle matters of this nature. So, if the elements in MEND have chosen to talk with him, we can only support the proposition and also urge the federal government to make haste and dialogue with them so that kidnapping and all sorts of criminalities associated with MEND in the recent past can end.
It is even the more interesting that their proposal is coming at a time that the committee on prerogative of mercy is about to visit prisons for a possible release of some suspects who deserve the federal government’s pardon.
This is why we are calling on the committee to take advantage of the olive branch extended by MEND to revisit the case of the detained MEND leader, Henry Okar, especially as it has to do with his case with the government of Nigeria. One thing is certain: if steps are taken to pardon Okar in Nigeria, it will just be a step towards securing a comprehensive pardon for him anywhere and everywhere. Once that is done, we can be sure that the Niger Delta will experience peace like never before.
We make this plea on his behalf considering the state of health of the freedom fighter. We have read on the media that he is going through very serious health challenges. His ardent followers have also expressed their position on his continued detention. We believe that if Henry Okar’s case is revisited, it might just lead to his release and that will mark the final end to hostilities in the Niger Delta.
We call on Kingsley Kuku to also work in consonance with the committee towards the realisation of this goal. We believe in his charisma and integrity. We believe in his negotiating abilities. We believe that if he steps in and engages the committee, some positive results will be achieved. The freedom fighters believe in and have an unshaken faith in the capacity and capability of Kingsley Kuku. We urge him to liaise with the committee on prerogative of mercy to open a fresh chapter for the release of Henry Okar, especially at this time of our national life. We urge Kuku to accept the offer by MEND and initiate the peace talks processes without delay.
Our interest remains the peace and development of our region. This is one way of supporting Mr President to remain focused in the discharge of his duties as the nation prepares for another election.
May God bless Nigeria.