The following article was published by Checkout Magazine on September 22nd 2012
The special adviser to the President of Nigeria on Niger Delta and Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Hon Kingsley Kuku yesterday made official launch of his long-awaited book, ‘Remaking the Nigeria Delta: Challenges and Opportunities’.
Speaking at Jasmine Hall, Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos, the venue of the book launch, Hon. Kingsley Kuku took the audience on a historical voyage of the agitation of the people of the oil-producing Niger-Delta region of Nigeria for improved livelihood and sustainable development, which led to violent armed struggle and insurgency due to government’s neglect.
The author, while expressing his delight on the achievements so far made by the Presidential Amnesty Programme introduced by the Nigerian government in 2009, warned that the government should increase support for the initiative to make lasting the unusual peace that is presently experienced in the region.
He said the book was a child of necessity delivered to address, in detailed terms, the past and recent events that led to the unrest in the region and efforts made by some notable Nigerians to find solution to the national impasse.
According to Kuku, the book gave greater insight into the Amnesty proclamation, initiated by the late Nigerian President Musa Yar’adu to grant unconditional pardon to ex-militants who engaged in several violent crimes during their agitation against the government, and to meet their demands for equitable distribution of national wealth, a policy that has since been successfully managed under the present government President Jonathan Goodluck and headed by him (Kuku) and has significantly impacted on Nigeria’s oil production capacity.
As succinctly put by Kuku: “with Nigeria producing as at today between 2.4 million and 2.6 million barrels of crude oil per day as against the abysmally low of between 700,000 and 800,000 barrels per day at the peak of the Niger Delta crisis in January 2009, the nation and its Joint Venture partners are currently making production savings of up to 1.9 million barrels per day.”
Kuku advised policymakers, politicians, scholars, students, historians to own copies of the book while he promised to make the book available in international arena to furnish foreign institutions and governments with developments in the Niger-Delta region of the country.
Professor. G.G. Darah, who was one of the two reviewers of the book at the launch, said many works of literature so far written on the crisis of the Niger-Delta, including those written by himself, were laden with anger spurred by the sentiment shared by the writers on the region but Kingsley Kuku has succeeded in capturing the situation in the region in vivid form without recourse to anger or sentiment in his thoughts.
On his part, Professor Gus John, of the University of London, who was the second reviewer, shared his age-long academic interest on Niger-Delta’s history and commended the author for making a new contribution to the field of knowledge by writing the book.
He suggested that for such a book that provides fresh insight into the challenges and opportunities of the Niger-Delta whose past insurgency shocked the international community to have significant impact the world over, there should be a launch in London and the US to show the outside world the new peaceful Niger-Delta that is full of prospects.
The event attracted notable Nigerians from across the length and breadth of the country which include the deputy governor, Lagos State, Mrs Ajoke Orelope; the representative of the Senate President, Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman; the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; Chairman Senate Committee on Niger-Delta, Senator James Manager; a renowned Niger-Delta female activist, Annkio Briggs; former leader of the Ijaw Youth Council and Niger-Delta agitator, Mujahid Dokubo-Asari and the former Chairman of the Amnesty, Mr Timi Alaibe to mention but a few.
Buy the book: “Remaking the Niger Delta – Challenges and Opportunities”
Picture credits (home page): Checkout Magazine