The interim coordinator of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, Col. Milland Dikio (rtd), has revealed the programme is owing contractors over N71.4bn.
Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with President
Muhammadu Buhari, he said the programme, which was meant to train and
rehabilitate ex-agitators, has been derailed from its original focus by endemic corruption.
Recall late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua set up the programme, meant to last for few years within which militants would be disarmed, demobilized and reintegrat- ed into the civil society.
“However, immediately after the disarmament phase, challenges including endemic corruption cropped in and derailed the programme. Lack of funds and corruption were blamed for impeding the effective operationalization of the programme.
“Regrettably, the programme has now been running for 11 years without the desired benefits delivered to
the ex-agitators, rather their database was dishonestly corrupted, and several contracts awarded in total dis- regard of need and procurement processes.
“Consequently, the programme is currently owing contractors the sum of N71,411,646,210.68. This informed Mr. President’s decision to overhaul the programme aimed at ensuring the dividends of the amnesty programme reaches its original target beneficiaries,” he said.
Dikio affirmed that the ultimate success of the amnesty programme lies in its ability to move ex-agitators from their previous lifestyles to sustainable livelihoods, as peaceful members of their communities and net contributors to the economy.
Also speaking, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Munguno (rtd), said even though the programme was set up to redress observed problems facing the Niger Delta arising from ecology and security, among others, it has been subsumed in unrelated issues.
BY JONATHAN NDA- ISAIAH