- South-south elders, others leader pass vote of confidence on Presidential Adviser
Paul Obi and Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
About 25 Nigerian students in Turkey under the sponsorship of the Presidential Amnesty Programme have cried out to the federal government for rescue following the inability of the programme to fulfill its responsibility of paying outstanding fees and stipends to the students as part of the scholarship programme.
In a letter drawing the attention of the federal government to their plight, a copy of which was obtained by THISDAY, the students schooling at the European University of Lefke, Turkish Republic of North Cyprus under the Presidential Amnesty Programme, decried the manner with which officials of the programme had abandoned them in Turkey.
According to the leader of the students, Ombo Contterell, the call on the federal government to intervene was the only avenue left for them to express their concern.
He said: “We have decided to make this last minute outcry after exhausting all available internal dispute resolution at the Amnesty office. So far we have officially written and addressed four letters to the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta/Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier-General Paul Boroh, and six to various desk and designated call centres but no single one of such letters was ever acknowledged.
“In one of those letters we even stated that we will take the matter to the Senate, House of Representatives, the media and even seek legal action against the Amnesty office for abandoning us, yet there has never been any amicable resolution on the matter. Not even a call to that effect,” Contterell said.
The students’ public outcry is coming on the heels of government’s plan to end the programme due to the current economic downturn.
Meanwhile leaders of the six states in the South-south geo-political belt rose in unison at the weekend and declared their unalloyed support to the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Brig-Gen Paul Boroh (rtd), saying his management of the programme since assumption of office last July was highly commendable.
They assured Boroh of their readiness to support and defend him against perceived detractors who are out to torpedo his mission to successfully drive the programme with a view to sustaining peace and ushering in the much-desired development in the Niger Delta region.
The Board of Trustees (BoT) of a pan-Niger Delta group under the aegis of South-South Chiefs and Elders Council, who paid a courtesy visit on Boroh in his office in Abuja, weekend said they had followed his dogged and single-minded approach to ensure the success of the amnesty programme and the overall peace and development of the region since he was appointed.
Speaking while presenting Boroh with an award as patron of the council, the President General, Edidem A.W. Udosen, said since being appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, they had watched with admiration the way Boroh had gone about resolving knotty issues concerning the amnesty programme in particular and the Niger Delta in general.
The South-south Chiefs and Elders Council, Udosen said, is similar to Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Arewa and Afenifere, and urged Boroh to use his position to ensure that the Aluminum Smelting Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) is returned to the rightful owner, Dr. Reuben Jaja.
He regretted that since the court declared Jaja as the rightful owner of the company, no effort has been made to allow him possess the firm, adding that the resuscitation of ALSCON would create scores of jobs for the teeming youths in the geo-political zone
Also, speaking, the Chairman of the BoT, South-south Chiefs and Elders Council, Dr. Reuben Jaja, who also commended Boroh for the way he had piloted the affairs of the amnesty programme, said since he assumed office, Boroh had been able to resolve some very knotty issues, including settling unpaid offshore allowances of PAP beneficiaries.
Jaja said through this dexterity in the handling of issues, Boroh had averted a possible eruption of violence in the region, adding that the chiefs and elders were extremely proud of him.
Meanwhile, notable ex-militant, Ebikamowei Victor Ben, alias Boyloaf, warned politicians to steer clear of the PAP, which he described as a security package designed to usher in peace and stability in the region.
Boyloaf in a statement, issued in Abuja, warned that any attempt by those he described as selfish and greedy politicians to hijack the amnesty programme from Boroh, would precipitate another round of avoidable crisis in the region.
The former militant leader said he was concerned about subterranean moves to truncate the gains being made by the leadership of the programme by some politicians who see the programme as their birthright from where they must derive maximum pecuniary gains for doing nothing.