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Re: ‘The amnesty programme benefits all’

IDEALLY, I would not have wished to engage in exchange of mails with you, but for the fact that your letter in paragraph two claimed that its purpose ‘is not to engage in polemics with you (sic); rather, it is to explain and present facts’; is indeed not explaining facts as they are, but turning facts upside down, and sadly concocting non-existing ones. Along this trajectory you claimed in the last paragraph of the letter that ‘… the Amnesty Office under my (sic) watch operates an open door policy, so that it is open to enquiry from any Nigerian on its activities’.

Let’s for example take your claimed espoused ‘open door policy’. You will recall that on your appointment as the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, I enthusiastically sent you a mail dated June 29, 2015 and titled Congratulatory Message’ in which I congratulated you, and expressed my desire to meet with you. In addition, I made my telephone number available to you so as to facilitate communication and build the much-desired synergy between your office and myself, as the member representing the Warri Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives. The same letter was received and signed for in your office on July 3, 2015. As at the point of writing this letter, you have not extended to me the simple courtesy of acknowledging my letter, yet you claim to espouse open door policy.

Concurrent  reciprocity

The reason for such attitude, which to me is contemptuous of my person and office, could be that I am not among those to benefit from your claimed espoused ‘open door policy’. The reason for such exclusion is best known to you.

Back to my earlier assertion that your letter to me hardly explains any fact; but is largely strewn with deliberate turning facts upside down, and even concocting non-existing ones. Please be informed that your claim in paragraph three that ‘the fact is that when in October, 2889 ex-Itsekiri agitators disarmed in Koko … stated categorically that they do not want to be part of the Amnesty Program’ is not only unfair, incorrect, but a robust concoction of a non-existing ‘fact’ sorely for a demonizing mission, deliberately put in place to justify your present alienating policy of the amnesty beneficiaries, specifically those of Itsekiri extraction. Brigadier-General Boroh (retd.), I hereby in good conscience challenge you to provide any iota of evidence to this spurious claim.

About 31 of the 70 that you now take credit for was made possible by myself and the leadership of INYC by providing Funds running into millions of Naira to cover tickets, accommodation, in-training allowances and warm clothing. It may interest you to know that it took the Amnesty office more than a year of aggressive and persistent demand before reimbursement was finally made to us.

Please check your records and you will see these facts. As at today, over 150 of such post-amnesty beneficiaries of Itsekiri extraction are still awaiting deployment for their respective university post-graduate programs. I hope you will note this for action.

I am most sad that you asserted in your letter that’ … all Itsekiri Amnesty beneficiaries have been paid the same monthly stipends as other beneficiaries’, as if payments of stipends are all that beneficiaries of Itsekiri extraction are entitled to. Let me inform here that you have no option than to pay them their stipends like others. It is the aspect of training and skilling/re-skilling that you can exercise discretion; discretion you have so far exercised by not sending any of them to learn any trade.

Let me congratulate you for this effort! The inescapable question is ‘out of the reported 200 post-Amnesty beneficiaries now sent out for this laudable training and skills acquisition, how many of them are of Itsekiri extraction? I hope you will in good conscience be honest and gentlemanly enough to give answer to this nagging question.

In recent times, reports of starter-packs being given to post -amnesty beneficiaries have been agog in the media, As you can attest, post-amnesty beneficiaries of Itsekiri extraction are excluded from among such receivers of starter-packs because your office have deliberately refused to send them for skills acquisition and training, as you seem to have espoused the position that receipt of monthly stipends should be enough for them.

Conversely, thousands of beneficiaries of non-Itsekiri extraction are being continuously deployed for training and skills acquisition. What do you think can be assumed as the explanation/causal factor for such discrimination with such high dosage of ethnic coloration ? Your guess is as good as-mine.

Hon. Daniel Reyenieju is Member for Warri Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives


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