Ex-militants demand probe of amnesty funds under Yar’Adua, Jonathan

 From: Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

Ex-militants and former beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), on Tuesday, called for a probe of the N541 billion spent on the scheme in the past eight years.

The ex-militants, under the auspices of Transparency and Accountability Movement in Niger Delta (TAMND) lamented that despite the funds, the programme from the beginning failed to fulfil its promises to beneficiaries.

The group of ex-agitators, in a statement signed by its Chairman, Lord Onipa and Secretary, Nengi Buna, demanded publication of the camp lists of the delegates that brought the total number of the beneficiaries to 30,000.

They said after eight years, the amnesty programme had failed to keep its promises of providing accommodation, vehicles and other provisions initially made for ex-militants.

The statement read in part “We also frowned at the situation whereby stipends/allowances to delegates in schools and other training programme are owed in arrears from five to six months. These are the issues bothering us as a group in the region.The amnesty programme has failed to fulfil appreciable percentage of the agreed conditions to ex-agitators. We wish to put it on record that, the Federal Government has so far, spent over N541 billion on the amnesty programme for the past eight years.

“We began to wonder whether the amnesty programme is properly co-ordinate or it is designed to benefit some Federal Government agencies or Nigerian security agencies and those at the helms of affairs of the programme. We are demanding that the Amnesty Office should bring out all the names of delegates and when and where they were trained? It is also our firm conviction that the sum of N541 billion spent on the programme is a fraud, and call on the Federal Government to set up an investigative panel to unravel the secrets behind this colossal waste of money without any meaningful achievement. We also demand that, let the Federal Government publish each camp list of delegates who embraced the amnesty that bring the total number to 30,000 as been claimed by the Amnesty Office”.