This Day (Lagos)

14 December 2012

Nigeria: U.S. Officials, Kuku Meet Over Kidnappings in Niger Delta

Worried by the spate of kidnappings in the Niger Delta region, officials of the United States of America's Department of State yesterday met with the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Hon. Kingsley Kuku to find possible areas of cooperation to check the trend.

The three-man delegation led by Mr. Neal Kringle said the US was ready to to collaborate with the Amnesty Office to make the Niger Delta peaceful, adding , this was desirable for the much-clamoured rapid development of the region.

"We are here to try to get an update of how you feel things s are going on in the Niger Delta, how you look to the future, what challenges you see ahead of you and what things you see that are working well," Kringle said.

Responding, Kuku stated that the current insecurity, especially the kidnappings had no link with the Amnesty programme, stressing that what was required was increased security network in the region.

"I know of basic interest to you will be the issue of the security situation in the region despite the amnesty programme.

"There are few cases of kidnapping that are arising, there are some cases of agitations, can the peace be sustainable? This programme, the way it is, can it be sustainable vis-à-vis the Niger Delta question? What can happen after this programme?

"Whatever few things you begin to hear in the region is typical with so many environments in Africa, it has to do with Christmas and the New Year. We only need to up security all over the country and it will go a long way in addressing that problem," he said.

He stated that so far, the Niger Delta region had been calm and that oil and other business activities had been going on unhindered, resulting in the increase of crude oil production from a mere 700,000 bpd in 2009 to a current 2.7 million bpd.

According to him, the main concern of his office remained the about 30,000 Niger Delta ex-agitators captured in the amnesty programme but that the various government ministries and agencies had to play their parts in ensuring an accelerated development of the region.

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