Ex-Niger Delta militants plan protest over suspended amnesty programme

Ex-militants in the third phase of the Presidential Amnesty Programme on Tuesday are contemplating a protest to demand the resumption of suspended reintegration programmes.

Leader of the group, Ebi John, on a radio programme monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria in Yenagoa, said the suspension of the programmes resulted from the non-payment of verified Presidential Amnesty Programme’s contractors since last November.

He said peculations were rife about plans to scrap or wind down the amnesty programme without fully reintegrating the 30,000 beneficiaries and that the development had caused apprehension amongst the ex-militants.

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He alleged that the suspension of the training and empowerment programmes was a clear indication of the rumoured plan to scrap the scheme.

In his contribution, Chairman of Amnesty Vendors Forum, Samson Graham, confirmed that the Amnesty office suspended payment of contractors since November 2019.

He said the contractors could not continue the training and empowerment schemes without payment.

He appealed to the Presidency to facilitate the payment of verified contractors to enable them to return to the various training centres to continue their jobs.

A source at the Presidential Amnesty Office who spoke on condition of anonymity stated that the delay in payment was due to on-going audit investigation of activities of the previous administration headed by Prof. Charles Dokubo as Coordinator.

President Muhammadu Buhari sent Prof. Dokubo on suspension from office in February and announced his sacking On Aug. 26.

The president consequently announced the appointment of retired Col. Milland Dikio as interim coordinator.

NAN

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