IYC, Ex-militants Caution Senate Committee on Move to Issue Bench Warrant on Dikio

Blessing Ibunge

The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) and ex-militant leaders have cautioned the Senate Public Account Committee on its threat to issue a bench warrant on officials of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) including the PAP’s Interim Administrator, Col. Milland Dikio (retd).

The Chairman of IYC, Abuja branch, Adam Marbo, in a statement, said the council was surprised at the committee’s claim that the warrant was to compel Dikio appear before it to explain an alleged N10 billion unaccounted for by the amnesty office contained in Auditor-General’s report of 2018.

Marbo said the council expressed surprise that the report referred to by the committee was based on transactions that occurred in 2015 fiscal year.

The IYC boss described the propose action of the Senate committee as witch-hunt, explaining that the transaction and the audit report happened years before Dikio was appointed as the interim administrator of the programme.

He explained: “We can recall that Dikio was appointed towards the end of 2020. What the Senate is investigating is a transaction that occurred in the amnesty office in 2015 but was mentioned in the Auditor-General’s report of 2018.

“The matter does not concern Dikio at all. Why will the Senate Committee become so fixated on Dikio that it descended to the arena of desperation with the threat of a bench warrant? What are they looking for? The committee cannot feign ignorance of persons at the helm of affairs in amnesty office when the transaction took place.”

Marbo urged the committee to stop distracting Dikio and allow him concentrate and deliver his vision for PAP insisting that the current amnesty boss should only be held accountable for his actions and inactions during his tenure.

“Dikio has reformed the amnesty programme and we won’t allow any baseless attack on him. The Senate committee should judge Dikio by his deeds in the amnesty office and not by the actions and misdeeds of others before him. We perceive any attempt to do otherwise as a deliberate attempt to distract the amnesty boss and destabilise the Niger Delta.”

Also, former militant leaders in a separate statement signed by the Chairman, First Phase Ex-Agitators, HRH Henry Binidodogha and  Chief Andabafa Namah ) called on President Muhammadu Buhari to hold the Senate responsible should there be renewed hostilities in the Niger Delta.

They said the lawmakers were on a mission to disrupt the existing peace in the region with their scripted plans to destabilise the good works of Dikio 

The former warlords said the committee was on a mission to embarrass Dikio and make a mess of all that he had achieved within a short period of time since he took over.

They also said the issue listed in the probe predated the tenure of Dikio and wondered why the Senate Public Accounts Committee would be disturbing him about it.

They added: “Our attention has been drawn to a report in the media by the Senate, inviting our boss, Colonel Milland Dixon Dikio (retd) to appear before them else they would arrest him. We want to say that this move is capable of causing a breakdown of law and order in the Niger Delta region.

“We do not want to believe that the Senate Committee is trying to subdue our leader and brother who have come to change the narrative and perception of the PAP. Let us put them on notice that we will resist it with all our strength and might. As delegates and critical stakeholders in the region we will not allow them to rubbish him and the amnesty programme.”

The ex-militant leaders said while the Senate committee headed by Senator Matthew Urhogbide had the statutory right of carrying out their oversight functions, they must be careful and be sincere especially when it had to do with the Niger Delta.

They insisted it made no sense whatsoever to compel a man to answer for an alleged offence that he knew nothing about and urged the Senate committee to stop the sponsored media trial and invite those responsible to answer for themselves what transpired in 2018.

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