By Steve Seigha, Yenagoa
Following the non payment of verified Presidential Amnesty Programme’s contractors from November 2019 to date, coupled with the rumoured plan by the present administration to scrap the Amnesty Programme, aggrieved ex-militants in the Niger Delta region have indicated their interest to join the EndSARS protest platform to ask the National Security Adviser to the President, Retired Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno to facilitate the payment of all contractors within 48 hours and give account of the amnesty office for the period he has been running the office, being February 2020 till date, or be prepared to face their wrath in the comming days.
Speaking on a live radio programme on Silverbird FM, in Yenagoa on Monday morning, leader of third phase of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, General Ebi John, who lamented the pains the ex-militants in the Niger Delta are going through as a result of the non payment of contractors handling various trainings and empowerment schemes in the programme, reiterated that the most critical part of the Amnesty Programme is the reintegration of the ex-agitators into civil life, which has to do with the training and empowerment of the ex-agitators to enable them have sustainable sources of livelihoods in line with the amnesty deal with the federal government.
General John said the amnesty office delibrately stopped payment of verified contractors since November last year which has resulted to non training and empowerment of the ex-agitators, adding that action was a clear indication of the rumoured scraping of the Presidential Amnesty Programme by the present APC-led administration.
“Our findings indicate that Retired Gen Monguno who is the National Security Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari is the brain behind the non functioning of the programme because of his secret agenda of eventually scraping the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
“The United Amnesty Delegates is sending a message to Gen Monguno (Rtd) that his plans to further loot funds meant for the programme coupled with his and secret plot to scrap the programme is now clear to the entire Niger Delta people, particularly the ex-militants and we will resist it with our blood as usual.
“The non payment of contractors/vendors by the Amnesty office since November last year is a ploy by Gen. Mongono (rtd) to cleverly scrap the Presidential Amnesty Programme as beneficiaries of the programme no more undergo trainings for empowerment because of the backlog monies the office is owing contractors.
“We is calling on the Nigerian government to call Gen Mongono to order in the next 48 hours and prevail on him to pay all verified contractors to enable for the beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme to return to their various training centers to continue with their trainings and empowerment schemes without further delay.
“If the government fails to address this appalling situation within the next 48 hours, we shall have no other option than go back to the creeks and take actions that will compel the presidency react immediately.
The payment should not be selective (bias), it should include from 15 to the Least .
“The NSA should refund back all looted funds (PAP office)
“The United Amnesty delegates demand an explanation from Mr President as to why the NSA is still the one running the office after an interim coordinator has appointed.
“Gen. Mongono should hand over every thing that concerns the PAP office to Col Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd) to kick start and act as the substantial coordinator.
“All the aforementioned demand should as a matter of urgency be met within next 48 hours or else we the united Amnesty delegates will go back to the creeks were we came from.
“His Excellency President Muhamandu Buhari should call Gen Mongono to order before the Niger Delta region will react negatively to the Presidency.
“We have been reliably informed that the new amnesty boss cannot pay anyone because his hands are tight. He does not have any control over financial matters in office, as approvals are made by the NSA who is the one running the office. Dikio is not signatory to amnesty account”, Gen. John warned.
In a telephone interview, Chairman of Amnesty Vendors Forum, Mr Samson Graham said the Amnesty office stopped paying contractors since November 2019 for reasons he cannot understand, saying that the contractors cannot continue their trainings and empowerment schemes without funds, hence, everything about training and empowerment have been halted for about one year.
He appealed to the Presidency to facilitate the payment of verified contractors to enable them return to the various training centers to continue their jobs, informing that his forum has a large number of registered vendors from the Niger Delta region.
All efforts to talk with the coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme in Abuja proved abortive as non of the official lines were going at the time of filing this report.