YOUTHS from the southern part of Nigeria have pleaded with the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, to begin the next phase of the state amnesty programme in order to prevent repentant cult members from going back to crime.
Speaking under the aegis of the Southern Youth Foundation, they said repentant cult members in the state were becoming impatient owing to lack of clear-cut plans for them from the government after surrendering their arms.
The National President of the SYF, Mr. Emeni Ibe, made the call on Saturday during the inauguration of the state chapter of the group in Port Harcourt.
Ibe explained that the next phase of the programme should be the rehabilitation of the repentant youths, which would include skill acquisition, educational and vocational training as well as payment of stipends in a bid to discourage them from going back into cultism.
“We are calling on the state government to quickly implement the next phase of the amnesty in the state because if nothing is done, the boys will go back to the creeks.
“If the state government does not implement the next phase, what will happen will not be desirable and we don’t pray for such.
“The next phase would be rehabilitation, skill acquisition, educational training and giving of stipends since they have dropped arms.”
He expressed the group’s readiness to work with the state government to address the renewed cases of kidnapping, robbery and cultism in the state.
He, however, commended Wike for initiating the amnesty programme and vowed that the group would resist attempts by other sections of the country to make the southerners second class citizens in the country.
Pointing out that they will promote unity among the youths in the country, Ibe said, “The state amnesty programme is a beautiful idea that has brought peace in the state. We are urging the youths to turn a new leaf and bring about peace in the state.”
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the President on Student and Youth Affairs, Mr. Nasir Adhama, urged the newly inaugurated Rivers State Executive of the SYF not to see the opportunity as a money-making venture, but a call to serve humanity.