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Monday, 12 February 2018

The Presidential Amnesty Programme Has Been a Huge Success - Management.


The Management of the  Presidential Amnesty Programme has described the Programme as a huge success. It said in a sense, the Programme has become a victim of its own success as some Nigerians have come to view it as the body that should rectify the age-long challenges of the Niger Delta Region and bring development to it.

A statement signed by its Head, Media and Communications, Owei Lakemfa said while it welcomes criticism and is open to suggestions, the Programme’s critics should assess it  based on its mandate and not what individuals or groups want it to do.

It stated that as part of its verifiable successes, Presidential Amnesty Programme:

1)Ended the armed conflict in the Niger Delta which was its primary mandate.

2)Established a regular forum with the leaders of the Beneficiaries which has ensured effective interaction and communication  leading to the peaceful resolution of  issues .

3)Engaged the Amnesty Beneficiaries, youths, traditional leaders and representative organisations like the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) in continuous dialogue which is partly responsible for the peace being experienced in the Region.

4) In concert with other government agencies and the people of the Niger Delta, succeeded in halting the rash of oil facilities vandalism leading to   uninterrupted oil production and the country’s oil earnings in 2017 rising to N7.3 Trillion , up from N5.68 Trillion in 2016.

5)The Amnesty Programme  has despite the delayed release of funds, paid the monthly stipends of the Ex-Agitators up to December 2017 to ensure peace and stability in the region, adding that the outstanding month of January, 2018 is due to the fact that the 2018 National Budget is before the National Assembly and therefore yet to be appropriated.

6)The Amnesty Programme is up-to-date   in the payment  of Offshore and Onshore Beneficiaries school fees in Europe, United States, Asia, Africa  and in the country.

7)Has contributed immensely to human capital development with 1,431 graduating under its scholarship scheme from 23 countries  including 13 Ph.Ds. and 1,0600 from universities in the country.

8)Is accelerating the final Integration Stage by placing emphasis on the empowerment of Beneficiaries who have been trained so that they can establish their independent businesses.

9) Many  Ex-Agitators are now proud farm owners  (Owning  rice and  fish farms, poultry, piggery, snailery )  etc and are employers of labour .

Misinformation and misconception.

The Management stated  that some youths had been mobilized to protest against the Presidential Amnesty Office based on misinformation and misconception. It clarified that the Programme:

i)Does  not include the provision of housing or pension to Beneficiaries so the claim that the Office has failed to fulfill this alleged promise, is baseless as no such agreement or policy was ever made.

ii)Is neither responsible for the provision of infrastructure or development of the Niger Delta, rather, its mandate is focused on human capacity development and to ensure a peaceful environment to allow for investment and the development work of other agencies like the NNDC and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

iii)Is not a scholarship scheme nor a mass employment Bureau, rather it is primarily to cater for the 30,000 Beneficiaries and some youths from the impacted community who took amnesty,   and to work for peace in the Niger Delta.

Reasons for the attacks on the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

The Management in analyzing the on-going orchestrated attacks and choreographed protests against the Office has identified the main sources and reasons. The Management  states that:

a)  While it views the Presidential Amnesty Programme as an interventionist, security programme  designed to ensure peace in the Niger Delta , there are those who think it should be politically partisan and should be run as such.

b) Its conviction is that the Presidential Amnesty Office  should continue to be run as a non-politically partisan agency accommodating all shades of  opinion and political affiliation.

c) Another  source are   the wild allegations bordering on character assassination made  by a  Presidential Amnesty Programme contractor, Mr. Iniefiye .K. Agama of Inkelma  International Limited and Aqua Prima International Limited who also runs a  fictious group called Niger Deltans for Accountability and Good Governance (NDAGG) .

d)The said Agama  has an outstanding 2012 contract with the Presidential Amnesty Programme for which he collected a 15 percent mobilization fee but has not executed the contract.

e)  Since  the contract has become  the  subject of litigation and his allegation of corruption against some officials of   the Presidential Amnesty Office are  under investigation by an agency,  it would prefer to await the outcome of the investigations rather than make comments at this point.

The Management states that it is proud of the work it is doing in the interest of the country and  would neither be distracted nor intimidated.

In conclusion, it commended its leader,  the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (Rtd) for conducting the affairs of the agency in a professional manner and for his unwavering commitment to sustainable peace and development  in the Niger Delta and the country.

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