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Thursday, 1 March 2018

The Presidential Amnesty Programme Is Not An Ethnic Agency - Spokesman

The Presidential Amnesty Programme has found it necessary to respond to series of ultimatum and demands by some ethnic youth associations in  the Niger Delta Region who have assumed proprietorial ownership of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

For purposes of clarification, the Office wishes to state that:

1)The purported threat by the National Union of Izon-Ibe Students (NUIS) to shut down the Presidential Amnesty Office is uncalled for because catering for the welfare of Ijaw students as demanded by the organisation, is neither the mandate nor part of the objectives  of the the Programme.

2)Claims by the NUIS  that the Presidential Amnesty Office is “diverting funds  meant for the implementation  of free education of students in the Ijaw(Region)” cannot be correct as no such funds ever existed nor was such ever appropriated under the Programme’s Budgets since inception. It is also necessary to clarify that the Presidential Amnesty Programme is not an ethnic agency but one for the entire Niger Delta Region. It was established  primarily to cater for the 30,000 caseload of Beneficiaries who took  the Amnesty andc some youths from the Impacted Communities.

3)Allegations by the NUIS that “students (under the Programme)  no longer  get their stipends and students abroad are being asked to come back…” are all false. Contrary to such allegations,  the Presidential Amnesty Office is up-to-date in the payment of school fees and allowances.. All students who are sent air tickets to return are those who have completed their studies and graduated.

4)The claims of marginalization by the Itsekiri Youths and some of their leaders based on the fact that they make up 500 of the 30,000 Amnesty Beneficiaries, are unfounded. The fact is that Amnesty was granted by the Federal Government to youths  who were involved in insurgency. This was not based on ethnic origins.

5)The continuous protests by Isoko  and Ndokwa Youths alleging non- inclusion in the Presidential Amnesty Programme  is also misplaced as the Office has no powers to grant Amnesty to any one or group .

6)For the good of all including the Region and country, it is better that the Presidential Amnesty Programme is insulated from partisan and  ethnic politics. 

Owei Lakemfa,

Head, Media & Communications,

Presidential Amnesty Programme.  

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