By Abujah Racheal
Abuja – The Management of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) said on Monday that the programme has succeeded in its primary mandate of ending the armed conflict in the Niger/Delta region.
A statement signed in Abuja by Mr Owei Lakemfa, Head of Media PAP, described the Programme as a huge success.
According to Lakemfa, some Nigerians have come to view the programme as a body that should rectify the age-long challenges of the Niger Delta Region and bring development to it.
He said that PAP welcomed criticism and open to suggestions, adding that the Programme’s critics should assess based on its mandate and not what individuals or groups want it to do.
Lakemfa said that as part of its verifiable successes, the programme ended the armed conflict in the region which was its primary mandate.
He said the programme established a regular forum with the leaders (generals) of the beneficiaries, which has ensured effective interaction and communication leading to the peaceful resolution of issues .
“To engaged the beneficiaries, youths, traditional leaders and representative organisations like the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) in continuous dialogue, which is partly responsible for the peace being experienced in the Region.
“In concert with other government agencies and the people of the region, succeeded in halting the rash of oil facilities vandalism leading to uninterrupted oil production and the country’s oil earnings in 2017 rising to N7.3 Trillion , up from N5.68 Trillion in 2016,” he said.
According to him, the Amnesty Programme despite the delayed in the release of funds, the monthly stipends of the beneficiaries were paid up to December 2017.
He said their stipends were paid to ensure peace and stability in the region.
The spokesman added that their January, 2018 stipend is being delayed due to the 2018 National Budget that is before the National Assembly and awaits appropriation.
He, however, disclosed that the Amnesty Programme was up-to-date in the payment of Offshore and Onshore beneficiaries school fees in Europe, United States, Asia, Africa and in the country.
According to him, the programme has contributed immensely to human capital development with 1,431 graduating under its scholarship scheme from 23 countries including 13 PhDs. and 10,600 from universities in the country.
The head of media said the programme was accelerating the final Integration Stage by placing emphasis on the empowerment of beneficiaries, who have been trained so that they can establish their independent businesses.
“Many beneficiaries are now proud farm owners (Owning rice and fish farms, poultry, piggery, snailery )and are employers of labour.
He said that some youths had been mobilised to protest against the Presidential Amnesty Office based on misinformation and misconception.
“The programme didn’t include the provision of housing or pension to beneficiaries so the claim that the Office has failed to fulfill this alleged promise, is baseless as no such agreement or policy was ever made.
“The programme is neither responsible for the provision of infrastructure or development of the region.
“ Its mandate is focused on human capacity development and to ensure a peaceful environment to allow for investment and the development work of other agencies like the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC), and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
“The programme Is not a scholarship scheme nor a mass employment bureau, rather it is primarily to cater for the 30,000 beneficiaries and some youths from the impacted community, who took amnesty, and accepted to work for peace in the Niger Delta,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) recalls that the Coordinator of PAP, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh has denied the corruption allegations against him circulating in the social media.
Boroh said that the allegations which was made against him in a petition entitled; “Cancer of Corruption’’ by the Niger Deltans for Accountability and Good Governance (NDAGG) was on false grounds.
According to him, it is a common assertion that every coin has two sides, so does a story and so the case against him was not different