The Federal Government has explained that it was the visa policy of the British Government and not the lack of funds that compelled most of the ex-Niger Delta agitators’ beneficiaries of the amnesty programme to return home from the United Kingdom.
Presidential Amnesty Programme Media and Communication Consultant, Mr. Owei Lakemfa, in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, claimed that the returnee students sent to the UK in 2014 under the Presidential Amnesty Programme returned to the country following the expiration of their one year visa.
Lakemfa said, “This has nothing to do with funding their programmes as is being insinuated. Also, the Presidential Amnesty Office reiterates that there is no policy or plans under the Programme to pay Housing or Accommodation Allowances.
“It is therefore not correct for any beneficiary under the Programme to claim he is being owed, or is expecting such an allowance.
“Furthermore, the Amnesty Office reiterates that all allowances and payments under the Programme have been effected.
“However, some beneficiaries especially in South Africa and United States experienced some delays perhaps due the Central Bank’s implementation of the TSA policy.
Happily, the affected beneficiaries have started getting alerts confirming their banks receipt of the funds.
“The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme General Paul.T. Boroh (rtd) appreciates the support of the leaders and members of the various groups and camps under the Amnesty Programme.
“He reiterates that only under a peaceful atmosphere will investors be attracted to the Niger Delta Region and sustainable development achieved.”
But one of the students, who spoke with our reporter on the condition of anonymity for fear of victimization, said they were yet to receive their allowances for over four months now, that the issue of visa renewal was not the whole story.
The British visa policy makes it compulsory that the Students travel home to renew their visa but there was the insinuation that the students who started their training in 2014 were forced home due to paucity of funds.