If Mr. Stanley Iyenkedi Oleke, an indigene of Gbaramatu Kingdom, in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State was told that the Amnesty Programme he gladly embraced in 2010 will bring him more sorrow than joy, he would not have believed.
But 93 months after, he has discovered that the orchestrated Amnesty Programme by the Federal Government has placed him between the devil and the deep blue see as his stipends of over 93 months at sixty-five thousand (N65,000) per month accumulating into over six million naira has not been paid despite all efforts and attempt of his.
The Sri Lanka trained boat builder told GbaramatuVoice that as a law-abiding citizen, he will not do anything inimical to undermine the state hence, he has decided to use the mass media to reach the Federal Government and the Amnesty Office Coordinator, Gen. Paul Boroh (retd).
In his words, “I am pleading with the Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s led Federal Government and Gen. Paul Boroh, the Coordinator of the Amnesty Office to kindly and very graciously look into my case and pay me the said amount which is verifiable so that I can take care of the pressing needs of mine which includes but not limited to my health.”
Narrating his ordeal to GbaramatuVoice, the distressed Oleke said he was among those that willingly embraced the Federal Government Amnesty Programme initiative initiated by the then Umaru Musa Yar’Adua led Federal Government in 2009.
He said that he was duly registered and was issued a registration number-C04/B10/S1/13818; after which he was mobilized for a 2 weeks orientation training in Obubra, Cross River State in December 2010.
As a way of authenticating his claim, the sobered Oleke presented the identification card issued him by the office of the Amnesty Programme Coordinator bearing his name, passport photograph and the corresponding registration number as quoted above.
He told GbaramatuVoice that during the orientation he was issued with two different certificates deeming him as eligible and qualified to participate as well as benefit from the Federal Government Amnesty training programme.
In his words, “Having completed the orientation training at Obubra, I was drafted to Sri Lanka in Singapore for a six 6 months training course in boat building starting from June 2011 to December 2011.”
Interestingly as it is surprising, while undergoing his training course in boat building at Sri Lanka, he received the sum of five hundred dollars only as training allowance and upkeep on a monthly basis for the period the programme lasted while the government officials coordinating the programme kept mute on the sixty-five thousand naira (N65,0000) monthly stipend. At the end of the training programme in December 2011, he and other participants returned to Nigeria, signalling the beginning of his plight.
GbaramatuVoice gathered that since his return to Nigeria, no word has been heard from the Amnesty office or its officials.
The trained boat builder added that apart from the $500 monthly payment made to him for his training allowance and upkeep while in Sri Lanka, he has not received any other payments from the Amnesty Office before and after his training as against what the Federal Government promised.
Regrettably, all efforts made by him to reach in person or notify the Amnesty Office regarding his predicaments were rebuffed.
While he is not the only participant undergoing this excruciating pain, he further told the GbaramatuVoice that information reaching him points to the fact that some of his colleagues were later paid after protesting to the constituted authorities. But unfortunately, he quickly added, that he is yet to receive his stipend from the Amnesty Office after well over 93 months and amounting to the sum of over six million naira.
This, he told GbaramatuVoice is regrettable coming from an administration that prides itself as anti-corruption warrior and also having ‘change’ as their party mantra.
“This is my plight; this is what I have been going through and this is my synoptic version of my story in the hands of the handlers of the Federal Government organized Amnesty Programme for the youths in the Niger Delta region as a way of curbing the incessant agitation and unrest.”
He reiterated that apart from the knowledge gained through the training, it was only allowance and upkeep of $500 he received for six (6) months in Sri Lanka while his colleagues were receiving monthly stipends of N65,000 even before and after mobilization. For him, it was an entirely different story.
“I therefore once again appeal to the Amnesty Office under the current leadership of the Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme, Gen. Paul Boroh (retd) to please look into my plight and attend to this complaint of settling all my outstanding payments as well as engaging me so that the skills will not amount to a waste,” Oleke added.