FG Inaugurates C’ttee to Review Amnesty Programme, Contracts Awarded Since 2015

  • Forecloses inclusion of new beneficiaries

Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

The federal government has set up a committee to review the operations of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) with a mandate to, among others, review contracts awarded by the Amnesty Office since 2015.

The eight-member review committee is made up of four senior officials of the Amnesty Office and four experts drawn from outside.

Members of the committee drawn from outside are Prof. Ayibaemi Spiff, a lawyer; Chief Otonye Amachree, Mr. Unyime Isong Eyo, and Ms. Azizat Mohammed.

Inaugurating the committee in Abuja thursday, the newly-appointed Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Prof. Charles Quaker Dokubo, said it has “my full authority and approval to take oral depositions or seek clarifications from any person or persons including current departmental heads.”

According to him, the four officials from the Amnesty Office on the committee are the Director of Finance and Accounts, Director of Procurement, Director of Administration as well as the Head of Audit, adding that the committee is chaired by the Director of Procurement, while the head of administration, is to act as secretary.

Dokubo underscored the compelling need to recalibrate and reboot the amnesty programme to meet current realities in the Niger Delta.

The presidential adviser, who was recently by President Muhammadu Buhari after the sack of the former Coordinator, Brig-Gen. Paul Boron (rtd) said:

“I am very conscious of the fact that the region, like most other parts of Nigeria, is a repository of intellectuals and innovative thinkers.

“Given my resolve to put my best foot forward in carrying out the assignment our great country has given me, I shall constantly be tapping from the massive pool of intellectual resources that abound across Nigeria,” he said.

Dokubo stated that following his appointment and assumption of office, he received the hand-over note of his predecessor and written briefs of departmental heads.

“I have of course taken my time to carefully go through the handover note and the departmental briefs that I received. The documents contain a maze of words and figures.

“I dare say, however, that these documents left lots of questions unanswered. Even more important, beyond reviewing these documents, I wish to use the opportunity of the inauguration of this committee to underscore the compelling need to recalibrate and reboot the Presidential Amnesty Programme to meet current realities in the Niger Delta region and Nigeria at large,” he said.

He therefore gave the terms of reference of the committee as: To take a critical look at the handover notes with a view to ascertaining the current status of the progamme; to ascertain current levels of compliance with the original mandate of the Presidential Amnesty Programme; to suggest or recommend prigrammes or policy reviews, where necessary; to review all contracts awarded by the Amnesty Office since 2015 with a view to determining the levels of work done, monies paid, beneficiaries and the extent of work done so far, and thereby recommend a payment schedule for only those qualified to be paid; determine financial assets and liabilities of the Amnesty Office; and a thorough assessment of all departments in the office and offer useful suggestions on how to improve on the performance of these departments, moving forward.

The committee is to also, among others, undertake a thorough personnel audit with a view to ascertaining the number of persons currently working in the Amnesty Office and the suitability of all officials for the offices they currently occupy.

Dokubo noted that PAP is a disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programme, adding that his preoccupation would be on reintegration to ensure that all beneficiaries are properly reintegrated and gainfully employed.

He foreclosed the inclusion of a new crop of beneficiaries into the programme, which was initiated in 2009 by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua administration.