EletiofePAP boss commends Buhari for backing amnesty programme

PAP boss commends Buhari for backing amnesty programme

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Ndiomu says Buhari has done exceedingly well in funding the PAP.

 the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Major General Barry Tariye Ndiomu (rtd). (Vanguard)

Ndiomu in a recent interview said the current administration under the leadership of President Buhari has done exceedingly well in funding the PAP and had given it sufficient resources.

“To be honest, the current administration has done exceedingly well. In the funding the PAP, they have given us sufficient resources that financed the programme in a timely manner. That is why we have been able to pay stipends to the ex-agitators, probably the first government agency every month that is able to pay stipends I can assure.

“Except for failures of the system which is nobody’s fault and is based on technology, by the 20th of every month, stipends are paid. I will tell you that the government has not short paid the amnesty programme by one Naira,” he said.

While noting that the programme has deviated from its original vision due to some actions taken in the past, he lamented that it got to a point where the programme was no longer addressing the original agitators despite the fact that the number of beneficiaries increased from 19,000 to 30,000.

“It got to a point where the programme was no longer addressing the original agitators captured, focus was now more on the impacted communities. So scholarship schemes, beneficiaries were not even the ex-agitators but it came more or less like a social welfare programme that cut across the entire Niger Delta,” he noted.

He also expressed displeasure that beneficiaries of some of the intervention programmes by PAP are not gainfully employed.

“Interestingly, when we looked at the data we had for the ex-agitators and members of impacted communities that have benefited from either the scholarship scheme, or the vocational training programmes, we realised that less than one percent are gainfully employed. That was totally at cross-purposes with whatever was intended of the amnesty programme and I’m not joking, less than one percent are gainfully employed.

“Why I visited the Head of Service was because we had 350 beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Scholarship Scheme. The 350 individuals are not necessarily ex-agitators; I want to bring up this distinction so you will have an understanding. Interestingly, these 350 individuals, very brilliant Niger Deltans, first class and second class upper.

They were specially selected and the federal government at the time decided that they should be employed at the various federal ministries and agencies. This happened in 2017, and till date you will not believe it, not one of them has been employed despite the presidential directive to that effect. So, when I resumed and my attention was drawn to the issue, I quickly wrote and had audience with the Head of Service,” he said.

The PAP boss insisted that the PAP office should have been carried along in the implementation of the Pipeline Surveillance Contract reeled out by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd.

“I think there was a mistake. I have expressed this already privately and emphasise privately to the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC Ltd.

“First of all, I have always wondered why anyone who will be talking about pipeline security and surveillance without involving the Presidential Amnesty office. I do believe to start with, problems confronting the Niger Delta, stems from the issues around pipeline vandalisation, which eventually led to agitations of different forms and which also led to the forming of Presidential Amnesty Programme,” he said.

On entrepreneurship, the PAP boss said that there were some initiatives that with the passing of the 2023 budget, the programme would set up cooperatives.

According to him, the idea behind the cooperatives will be for these same ex-agitators who will become the administrators and managers of their own destinies. We will attach experts to these cooperatives.

“We will finance the cooperatives so they have access to microcredit loans, along with consultants to advise them on whatever initiatives and businesses, entrepreneurship skills, so that they can do things to improve their individual economic situations.

“They can develop businesses from car wash bathing saloon. No matter what it is, they should be able to draw finance from this cooperative that we’re about to establish, which will be adequately funded.

“We are also thinking about setting up fishing trolling companies, which will entail procuring fishing trawlers. what will interest you is that some of the most expensive prawns and crabs are taken from Rivers or Costal waters, and Nigerians are not benefiting from it.

“And the Niger Delta people lived all their lives along the coastline. This is something we should encourage our people to get engaged in,” he said.

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