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Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa
A group of ex-militant leaders and stakeholders from the Niger Delta region have faulted the verification exercise of beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) by the Interim Administrator, Maj. Gen. Tariye Ndiomu (rtd.), and described it as a ruse and part of a hidden and heinous plan to systematically delist up to 10,000 amnesty beneficiaries.
The group also alleged that the exercise is meant to deduct 650million per month (and N4.550 billion for the remaining seven months) from the delisted beneficiaries account would be filtered away into private pockets to cover their inflated flight tickets, travel, hotel accommodations and their allowances.
The group, in a statement signed by former Ex-militant Leader, Mr. Boma Inewariku, (AKA Atangba-One), noted with concern that despite successive interim administrators subjecting the amnesty beneficiaries to numerous screenings and verification exercises with data and numeration figures available, the latest screening exercise under Ndiomu, is a deceitful ploy to systematically delist up to 10,000 amnesty beneficiaries by December 31, 2022, deadline.
The statement said that contrary to denials by Ndiomu that the federal government has rested all actions to dismantle the PAP, the federal government is forging ahead to conclude plans for the scrapping of the programme.
He asked: “How many federal intervention programmes in the north, which we all know that there are many of these federal programmes in the north that receive billions of Naira exploited from Niger Delta oil wealth, have been subjected to such scrutiny by their leaders?”
The statement pointed out that instead of unveiling new and progressive policies of moving the PAP forward after claiming that the federal government has rescinded the decision to scrap the amnesty programme, the Ndiomu’s verification exercise is suspect and meant to carry out the mandate of terminating amnesty in a few months.
According to him, the monies realised from delisting of beneficiaries, which would not be paid to them as required by law, is being diverted and allegedly embezzled on the pretense of conducting screening exercises.
He also said that the individual who signed the letter ordering the wickedly planned verification exercise on behalf of the Interim Administrator, Mr. Terry Ajobena, was sacked by Ndiomu’s predecessor, Col. Miland Dixon Dikkio (rtd.) for gross incompetence.
The group urged the various beneficiaries of the first, second and third phases of the amnesty programme to take note of the deceitful pattern with which the Ndiomu led amnesty office is adopting to hoodwink the region.
It said: “First, the people of the region raised an alarm on the plot to scrap the PAP and stakeholders including traditional rulers, political leaders, state governors and activists warned against such plan, but NdIomu, who has assured the Presidency of being able to terminate the amnesty programme, which he, Ndiomu, stated that was the reason for his appointment has adopted a different trick of gradually and systematically delisting beneficiaries in order to show his employers that he is in-line with their mission which is against the interest of the Niger Delta people.
“Secondly, while Ndiomu was on a tour to meet key stakeholders, including the foremost former militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo (also known as Tompolo), and meeting with other stakeholders in Abuja and Port Harcourt, Rivers State, he waved off the amnesty programme as a failure and cunningly claimed that he is planning a new strategy to reform the office.
“He immediately started delisting the Amnesty beneficiaries without informing the key ex-militant leaders’ he met with, including Tompolo, King Ateke Tom and others.
“While going ahead with the planned termination of the amnesty programme, despite rising caution against it, he threw a ‘dummy,’ claiming that the federal government has rescinded the decision to terminate the programme, and also planted media reports claiming that there were jubilations in the Niger Delta region.
“A few hours after that, the amnesty office unveiled a clandestine plan to embark on a jamboree sale of thousands of empowerment items meant for beneficiaries of the program and properties belonging to the presidential amnesty office under the guise of an approval from the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Mohammed Babagana Monguno (rtd.).”