N’ Delta Stakeholders Fault Calls for Increased Budget to Amnesty Contractors 

Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa

The Movement for Sustainable Development of the Niger Delta (MSDND) has faulted calls for an increase in the budgetary allocation to contractors of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).

Instead of a budgetary increase to contractors, the group wants President Bola Tinubu to immediately increase the monthly stipend of amnesty beneficiaries from N65,000 to N100,000 to cope with the rising inflation.

The group also called on the president and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu, to convene a meeting with the founding fathers of the Amnesty Programme to review the blueprint on the Presidential Amnesty Programme which they alleged has been abused, bastardised, and derailed under the Major Gen Barry Ndiomu (rtd) as the Interim Administrator.

It made this known in a statement issued and signed by Chief Ayibatekena Olodi in reaction to calls by the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme Vendors Union for more budgetary allocation to the programme.

The statement read: “The N65, 000 is a meagre stipend approved to ex-militants since 2009 despite the harsh economic conditions and inflation. These are ex-militants who have contributed immensely to the peace, security, and development of the region. These contributions have encouraged improved oil and gas exploration and an increase in the revenue for the country.

“These ex-agitators have maintained their side of the bargain, in spite of the environmental degradation, deprivation and destruction. The meagre monthly N65,000 is the money they have managed for upkeep and used for medical bills of families affected by adverse effects of oil and gas exploration in the region.”

The group added: “Any increase in the budgetary allocations for more contracts will automatically lead to more fraudulent and unexecuted contracts by contractors at the PAP.

“It’s a recipe for disaster, and we have all witnessed these magnitudes of fraud that lead to the five days uninterrupted looting of the Amnesty Training and Vocational Centre located at Boro–Town in Kaiama, Bayelsa State in February 2019.”

It also reinstated its calls for the removal of the PAP’s Interim Administrator, Ndiomu, for alleged wrongful handling of the programme, fraud and gross misconduct.

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