Emma Amaize and Chancel Sunday Bomadi
CHAIRMAN, Phase 2 Ex-Agitators, Delta State, Mr. Kingsley Muturu, said the present rumbling in the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, was largely because the Chairman, PAP, and Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Brig Gen Paul Boroh (retd.), had failed to bring about a forum for him and ex-militant leaders to thrash out troubling issues.
Muturu in an interview with Saturday Vanguard, however, said that those calling for his sack do not have the interest of the programme at heart. According to him, the immediate cause of the current hoopla was the infiltration of the programme by strangers and apparent refusal of the Amnesty Office to address the anomaly.
“We, ex-militants have been in the programme before Boroh’s appointment, and to be sincere, we, ex-militant leaders, have a lot of issues to share with him regarding the running of the programme. But, unfortunately he had never created the forum to enable us meet with him unlike his predecessors, who actually did.
“Those calling for Boroh’s removal in the Facebook and other social media platforms do not have the interest of beneficiaries of the programme at heart. I believe such groups of people are not even part of the programme and they are doing so with personal interests. I advise them to desist from it,” he said.
Unwholesome developments in the programme
The peace ambassador said: “A lot of unwholesome things are going on in the running of the programme. For example, trainees from my group were sent back home from their training ground without concrete reasons given by the contractor, who also refused to explain what really happened. They were trained for just one month at the Agricultural College, Iguoriakhi, Edo state, and were asked by the contractor, Hon Austin Ehi, to go back home without any explanation.”
“When the boys called him on phone to know the position of things, he answered them by saying that they should do whatever they could, suggesting that their training process has been thwarted.
“That is where the problem lies. Personally, I have made frantic efforts by informing the Amnesty Office over this and other issues, but there had never been any headway. Imagine that there are also other vexing issues to discuss with the office, but Boroh seemed not disposed to it,” he asserted.
Strangers invade Presidential Amnesty Programme
The ex-militant leader asserted: “We have been seeing strange faces among beneficiaries in the schools and training centres under the programme. Go to Novena University, Felix Ibru University, Benson Idahosa University and you see non-Niger Deltans as beneficiaries of the programme. I tasked Boroh to take these complaints very seriously as there seems to be high profile corruption in the education and training department in the office. I also believe that politicians are dictating for Boroh on what and what to do without considering the interests of Niger Deltans,” he said.
According to him, “We, ex-militant leaders discovered that Boroh is being controlled by those who projected him into the office, and that is why he is apparently dancing to their tune rather than heed the complaints and anomalies arising in the running of the programme.”
“We, therefore, call on such politicians to leave the programme alone, as we have seen that they are managing the programme themselves. We are vehemently against their activities,” he added.
Muturu stated: “We have seen that it is Boroh’s inaction and reluctance that led to the infiltration of strange faces into the programme as beneficiaries in the schools and training centres. This is indeed baffling, as even our boys call us on daily basis to inform us of these strangers under the programme.”
“We are also not pleased with his new introduction of aptitude tests on students as recently conducted in Port-Harcourt, River State, which was alien to beneficiaries since inception of the programme.
“We, ex-militant leaders, hereby charge him to take charge of the programme or we may read his inaction on crucial issues as incapability to handle the programme. He has already lost touch with leaders of various groups, whereby information sharing between the office and leaders had also been lost,” the ex-militant leader asserted.
Asked to advice the Special Adviser on how best to handle the imbroglio, he said: “I advise Boroh to take the issues raised in the education and training of beneficiaries very seriously. He should look into the department handling beneficiaries’ training and education and take the necessary action to avoid failure of the programme.”
“I also call on President Buhari to look into the programme to appraise its wellness. There is indeed need for the federal government to find out if the programme is running accordingly to avoid backlash.”
The peace ambassador commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to the success of the amnesty programme, saying: “Yes, I believe he is committed because the President pledged to implement the good aspects of the amnesty programme in his inaugural speech. Education and training as well as engagement of beneficiaries are good aspects of the programme, I think Buhari will not deviate from this commitment