Published On: Fri, Nov 25th, 2016

Faith of Nigeria and Niger Delta tied – House Committee during oversight function to Amnesty

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amnesty-office-logoPress statement.

Friday 25th November, 2016.

 

The House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta says peace must be secured in the Niger Delta by all means as failure of peace in the Region would impact negatively on the country.

Speaking on behalf of an 11-member team that conducted an oversight function  to the Presidential Amnesty Office in Abuja, Committee Chairman, Hon Essien Ekpenyong Ayi  said  “’Peace in the Niger Delta means peace in Nigeria; trouble in the Niger Delta means trouble in  Nigeria.”

Hon Ayi who represents the Akpabuyo/Bakassi/Calabar South Constituency announced that the National Assembly has passed the Executive’s virement request for the Presidential Amnesty Programme adding that shows the Assembly’s commitment to the success of the Programmme.  He told the Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Committee, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (Rtd.) that the House had fought for proper funding of the  Amnesty Programme because “Your success is also our success and your failure, our failure…We need to flow with you to ensure success”

While welcoming the Committee members, General  Boroh revealed that the Amnesty Office is on Monday November 28, deploying  five hundred  Amnesty Programme beneficiaries to undergo training in advanced agriculture at the Bio Resource Centre in Odi, Bayelsa State. The Amnesty Coordinator  also informed  that 500 other beneficiaries will also be trained at the centre after this first batch ends its training in the next five months.

General Boroh thanked  the National Assembly for  its accelerated approval of the virement request by the Executive.  In his detailed brief to the Committee, he said the Presidential Amnesty Office  has received a total of N25 billion appropriation under the 2016 Budget including a N5 billion loan from the government. He said the funds were received under three line-items; Stipends which has seen 99.7 percent expenditure, Reintegration which has had 93.62 percent implementation,  and Operational Activities which has had a 98.615 percent application. He also gave the House Committee members  the breakdown  of the outstanding expenditure of the Office.

General Boroh  said the payment of stipends to amnesty beneficiaries cannot be endless adding that his Office is sensitizing beneficiaries and their leaders to this reality. He   emphasized that “Stipends  cannot be forever; the best thing is to teach people how to fish than to be given fish forever”

The Coordinator  reiterated Government’s commitment to the training and empowerment of all beneficiaries under the Programme before exiting them. He said youth  unemployment remains the major challenge in the Niger Delta and that everything possible must be done by all to put the moribund industrial complexes in the Region like the Aluminum Smelting  Company in Akwa Ibom, the Aladja Steel in Delta State and the various ports back to use. These he said would provide employment for tens of thousands of youths in the Niger Delta.

General Boroh said that agriculture should be encouraged at all levels of national life so that the country can become a multicultural economy and depend less on oil.

The Amnesty Coordinator again, warned beneficiaries of the Programme to stay clear of politicians who may want to use them to foment electoral violence in the December 10 re-run election in Rivers State. He said all that is required of them is to perform their civic duty like other citizens adding that any beneficiary involved in violence would be violating his amnesty oath and would therefore be expelled from the Programme.

 

Owei Lakemfa

Media & Communication Consultant

Presidential Amnesty Programme

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