The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) is up-to-date with payment of stipends, books and in-training allowances to Niger Delta ex-militants.
According to a Pulse Nigeria report, Mr Murphy Ganagana, Special Assistant Media to the Coordinator, PAP, Prof. Charles Dokubo, made this known in Abuja, while responding to claims by some people that the Amnesty office owed.
It could be recalled that the amnesty deal by the Nigerian government for militants in the Niger Delta was aimed at reducing unrest in the oil-rich region.
Late former President Umaru Yar’Adua offered an unconditional pardon and cash payments to rebels who agreed to lay down their arms.
The government targeted up to 10,000 militants who attacked the six Niger Delta states and cost the country a third of its oil production.
Meanwhile the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration assured of its continuity and commitment to the Amnesty programme, through its NIGER NEW VISION initiative.
The New vision has seen to several developments in the Niger Delta area’s which includes the empowerment of ex- militant (establishment of recreational centres, cash payments, scholarship opportunities etc).
At the briefing Ganagana said that the payment of allowances to the beneficiaries have been regular and prompt ever since the present leadership took over the management of the Amnesty programme.
“As we speak today, we are not owing ex-agitators under the Amnesty programme any stipends, in-training or books allowances,. We have paid up-to -date as funds are being released.
“We do also not owe in-training allowances to any scholarship beneficiary of the programme, especially those within the country.
Ganagana further explained that those who were claiming that the amnesty office owed them one year in backlog payments, were illegally deployed to various institutions for training without due process or the consent of the Coordinator.
He said: “in March 2018 shortly after Dokubo resumed office, some Niger Delta people who were not captured in the Amnesty programme database were illegally deployed for training without the Coordinator’s authorisation.”
“There were two categories of group of persons that were illegally deployed by a former official of the Amnesty programme within the period under review.
“Some of them were captured in the database making them bona-fide beneficiaries of the programme while some were not captured.
“But the Coordinator after some considerations decided to pay only the tuition fees of those ones who were not captured and have been given admission in various institutions for training.”
He said that the legal beneficiaries were entitle to tuition fees, books and in training allowances. “So, it is out of place for those who were illegally deployed for training to claim that they are being owed allowances,” he said, adding that the amnesty programme has the mandate to training, reintegrate and empower 30,000 ex-agitators of the Niger Delta region so as to maintain peace in the region.