Following alleged return of a whooping sum of N26 billion unspent fund meant to offset backlog of monies owed Amnesty Programme’s contractors from 2014 to date by the Interim Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Col. Milland Dikio (rtd), ex-militants in the Niger Delta region have called for his and the National Security Adviser to the President, Gen. Mohammed Babagana Monguno (retired) sack.
Speaking with newsmen in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State on Wednesday, the leader of the third phase ex-agitators, General Ebi John, warned that the reported return of N26 billion unspent amnesty fund to FG without paying contractors in the programme may spell doom for the federal government, informing that: “Late last year President Muhammadu Buhari listened to our agitations and released billions of naira to the amnesty office to offset debts the office is owing vendors/contractors, but the Interim Coordinator refused to pay the contractors, rather he returned N26billion as unspent fund to the federal government.
“On 31st of December by 12am the portal used for payment closed and every kobo was returned back to the Federal Ministry of Finance without paying the contractors.
“The Interim Coordinator has started failing. Take for instance, the amnesty office does not train or empower delegates directly. But do so through the services of vendors/contractors. Now, most of these vendors/contractors borrowed money from the banks to execute their jobs because the amnesty office had stopped mobilization of any kind to vendors/ contractors.
“I can remember vividly that on the 17th of December in Arogbo in Ondo State, when the amnesty boss met with critical stakeholders drawn from 1st, 2nd, 3rd phases and in the presence of General Boyloaf, High Chief Shoot-At-Sight, former IYC President, Comrade Chris Ekiyor and others. He said that payment of debts owned these vendors/contractors have started with payment from 2014 jobs.
“As I speak to you 90 percent of the vendors/contractors were not paid. The disadvantage of return of N26 billion unspent amnesty fund to FG is that thousands of ex-agitators who were waiting for their vendors to call them for training and empowerment in January 2021 are now stranded at home. The last part of the amnesty programme is training and empowerment of ex-agitators but it is not working. As ex-militants, we will not allow what is happening to Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC) to happen to the amnesty programme,” General John reiterated.
Recall that there are three phases to the amnesty programme, viz, the disarmament and demobilisation of militants, the rehabilitation and integration of ex-militants and the final stage is the post-amnesty package of huge infrastructural development in the region.
Without doubt, the amnesty programme is expected to improve the human capital development of the Niger Delta region which is presently low.