From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri, the Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Maj-Gen. Barry Ndiomu (retd), the Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Samuel Ogbuku, and King Ateke Tom have received the Niger Delta Peace Award.

This comes as Nengi Ockiya from Nembe Local Government Area, and a student of History and International Relations at the Federal University Otuoke was crowned the winner of the the winner of the 2024 Miss Peace Beauty Pageant.

Others, who got the Peace Advocate Award are the Speaker, Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere; Ebikabowei Victor-Ben (Boyloaf), High Chief Bibopere Ajube, Pastor Wilson Reuben, Felix Bony Ayah, Africanus Ukparasia and Kingsley Kuku.

The prestigious awards were given to them by the organisers of the Niger Delta Peace Day (NDPD) in partnership with the Congress of Niger Delta Ex-agitators to recognise their efforts and contributions in ending militancy in the Niger Delta and sustaining the existing peace in the region.

The NDPD was institutionalised in 2009 and made a work-free day by the Bayelsa State Government to commemorate the Federal Government’s declaration of the Amnesty Programme for ex-agitators in the Niger Delta

The promoter of NDPD, Mr. Seleipre Tonbie, said despite challenges, he had continued to keep the memories of that day alive by organising many events including the Miss Peace Beauty Pageant to mark it.

Tonbie noted that the 2024 NDPD ceremony which was held in Yenagoa was organised to correspond with the second term inauguration of Governor Diri and also to honour peace agents in the region.

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He said persons selected for the awards were individuals, who made sacrifices to facilitate the amnesty programme that ended the era of violent crisis in the region.

According to him, others who got the award though did not play a direct role to usher in the amnesty programme, used their various positions to promote and sustain the peace in the region.

“To be given the yearly award, each awardee must have contributed to peace in the region through programmes, projects and policies deliberately designed to empower the youths; discourage violent behaviours; develop communities in the region and promote education”.

Tonbie congratulated the 2024 awardees saying the gesture would immortalise their contributions to Niger Delta peace and urged them to keep doing more to sustain the peace in the region.

He called on corporate organisations operating in the region and other individuals to partner with the promoters of the award to encourage peace in the region.

“Before the amnesty programme, we saw how lack of peace negatively affected businesses and development in the region. We can now see the difference. Peace remains the only ingredient for a healthy business environment. We urge all corporate organisations to partner with us to encourage peace in the region.

“We have been organising the Peace Day events to help the ex-agitators remember their amnesty vows and to keep the memories of that auspicious day intact. We appeal to the governors in the region to support us,” he said.