Amnesty programme: Aggrieved youths threaten Niger Delta peace
A group, Voice of Niger Delta Youths (VNDY), on Sunday called for the overhaul of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), else the youth in the area will return to the creeks to commence restiveness in the volatile oil-producing Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the Yar’Adua/Jonathan administration had introduced PAP as political solution to end youth restiveness in the oil-producing Niger Delta region to address the volatility of the region.
VNDY said this in a release made available to GbaramatuVoice through its spokesman, Tonye Goodwill, noting that the region would witness fresh unrest and agitations despite billions of naira already expended by the Federal Government on PAP unless there is immediate overhaul of the programme.
The group said would be so alleging that the programme was already “a veritable conduit for fraud, high-handedness and a complete negation of the original intentions for which it was founded.”
According to Goodwill: “It is very worrisome that despite series of protests and copious documentary evidences that various stakeholders in the Niger Delta have raised and made available to all the various anti-graft agencies in Nigeria about the unwholesome practices and flagrant abuses of the programme against the PAP leadership, the Federal Government has continued to treat the matter of beaming its searchlights on its activities with lackadaisical attitude. To us who are stakeholders in the Niger Delta and close watchers of events, this speaks volumes and is in tandem with the loud boasts of the PAP leadership that they have the ears of the high and mighty in the Presidency and as such nothing would happen to them.
“As of now over 3,000 amnesty delegates presently studying in Nigerian universities are still being owed their monthly stipends since February this year while offshore students were only recently hurriedly paid their monthly stipends in order to frustrate a globally planned protest against these corruption activities all over the world.”
VNDY, while lamenting that despite the fact that most of the participants in PAP were yet to be paid and with no hope in sight, the Amnesty Office has just approved a 17-man delegate to visit Belarus, United Kingdom and the United States of America to attend the graduation ceremonies of some of its offshore delegates.
The group, while calling for the immediate overhaul and sacking of the PAP leadership, urged Acting President Yemi Osinbanjo (SAN) to as a matter of urgency and in line with the much-vaunted policy of this government to stamp out corruption to make lie of the boasts of the PAP leadership that it has the ears of the Presidency. and to as a matter of urgency, stop the traveling of the 17-man delegate to Europe and America and pay instead, the stipends of the amnesty delegates studying in Nigerian universities.
However, sources within the organisation debunked the allegations saying that the PAP was being run very transparently, adding that the issues of non-payment of stipends to delegates in varsities in Nigeria were being addressed.