The Presidential Amnesty Office has faulted a report in some section of the media that the programme is enmeshed in fraud, rather the programme is focused on maintaining the peace ion the Niger Delta and empowering the people to be self-reliant.
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and coordinator of the programme, Brig. Gen. Paul T. Boroh (rtd) said the agency remains committed to the 2,150 students who were sent abroad and has worked to ensure that those who have graduated or finished their courses have returned to the country.
According to him, the Amnesty Office has paid all the fees and entitlements of students both abroad and in the country and has also paid all debts including those owed by the previous administration.”
He explained that contracts awarded by the old and new administrations was a total N22,055,000 for the training and empowerment of Amnesty beneficiaries to sustainably reintegrate them into society.
“Also, all the contracts awarded under the new administration passed through due process including the Tenders Board. It is also important to note that school fees are paid directly to schools, allowances paid to students and stipends paid directly to the beneficiaries. Also, while in four years, no beneficiary was exited from the Amnesty Programme, Boroh in four months is exiting 3,232 persons which will save N2,520, 960,000 for government.”
Boroh explained that ”The Amnesty Programme is on course and has so far achieved its mandate of stabilising the peace in the Niger Delta region even as some disgruntled persons are spreading misleading information. The public should disregard the information aimed at causing disaffection as they are baseless.
“Several committees set up on our resumption of duty have made far reaching recommendations which are being applied to the later. For instance aside massively reducing the number of consultants tied to the programme, we have moved from the past and instilled a proper and verifiable database which has become the basis for all our activities unlike in the past where there was no coherent and reliable database.”
The amnesty coordinator hinted that as part of its efforts for effective communication between the office and ex-agitators under its care, it had established offices in the nine states covered by the programme as well as setting up offices in the nation’s foreign missions abroad for easy coordination and goals delivery.
“We are helping the youths in this region to begin to think out of the box and look beyond oil and gas and become practically futuristic and hence the trainings, sensitisation and empowerment that they are receiving from us now,” Gen Boroh stated.
He called on the people of the Niger Delta to continue to support the present administration ‘ s commitment to bring succour and make life meaningful to the Niger Delta youth and region despite the harsh economic challenges of the time.