From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
An umbrella group of ex-militant leaders’ and Stakeholders from the Niger Delta region have kicked against the Verification Exercise of beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) ordered by the Interim Administrator Major General Barry Tariye Ndiomu (rtd).
According to them the verification exercise is a ruse and part of a “hidden and heinous plan” to systematically delist up to 10,000 Amnesty beneficiaries.
The group in a statement signed by ex-militant leader, Boma Inewariku (AKA Atangba-One), which insisted that the plan to shut down the programme is still on the cards disclosed that the verification exercise is a means through which funds meant for beneficiaries totalling ₦4.550billion would be used to offset inflated flight tickets, travel and hotel accommodation allowances, meals and recreational allowances, duty travel allowances, security allowances of some management staff.
Inewariku, who noted that successive administrators of the programme have subjected beneficiaries to a series of verification exercises, maintained that the aim is to delist 10,000 beneficiaries.
He noted that rather than unveil new innovations to improve the programme in line with the federal government to put on hold plans to scrap the programme, Ndiomu’s latest actions is a decoy to eventually terminate the programme.
The statement read in part, “First, the people of the region raised an alarm on the plot to scrap the Presidential Amnesty Programme. Stakeholders including traditional rulers, political leaders, state governors and activists warned against such a plan. But Ndiomu has assured the Presidency of his capability to terminate the Amnesty programme which was the chief reason for his appointment. He has adopted a different trick of gradually and systematically delisting beneficiaries in order to show his employers that he is in line with their mission and the interest of the Niger Delta people.
“Secondly, Ndiomu while on a tour to meet key stakeholders, including the foremost Former Militant Leader, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka GOC Tompolo, and other stakeholders in Abuja and Port Harcourt, Rivers State, waved off the Amnesty Programme as a failure and claimed that he is planning a new strategy to reform the office. He immediately started delisting the Amnesty beneficiaries without informing the key ex-militant leaders.
“The Amnesty Office threw a dummy claiming that the Federal Government has rescinded the decision to terminate the programme. A few hours after that, the Amnesty office unveiled a clandestine plan to embark on a jamboree sale of thousands of empowerment items meant for beneficiaries of the programme and properties belonging to the Presidential Amnesty Office under the guise of an approval from the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major Gen. Mohammed Babagana Monguno (rtd)
“The Federal Government’s purported reversal of its decision to scrap the Amnesty Programme is a ruse and the planned Verification Exercise by General Ndiomu is a confirmation that the termination plan is on-going, and no one in the Niger Delta region should be deceived.
“Therefore all ex-militants and stakeholders across the region must peacefully resist Ndiomu’s tricks and stop further delisting of legitimate amnesty beneficiaries”.
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