…inaugurates Operational Review Committee
By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, says he is not interested in investigating the activities of his predecessor.
Prof. Dokubo made the disclosure on Thursday, while inaugurating an eight man Operational Review Committee to fast-track the realization of the programme mandate.
‘‘I will not go into examining those who were here before. I am trying to drive a part I will follow. Whatever problem that existed here is not my problem. It is the problem of government to do whatever they like to do. I don’t investigate people.
‘‘I have just come to this place, if there is any issue, the federal government should take up those who are involved in it. I am not here to do that.
‘‘I am dealing with a peculiar situation; our country has been turned into shreds. Our environment has been so militarized. What we are trying to do is to take a unique step. The steps we are taking are different from what is obtainable in the UN Amnesty programme.
‘‘You have those who have obtained their PHD and Masters degrees under this programme, that is why it is home grown and home driven programme.’’
He said the inauguration of the review committee became imperative to enable the new administration deepen the ongoing efforts by federal government to achieve a lasting peace in the Niger Delta region of the country.
He also said that the committee was inaugurated to underscore the compelling need to recalibrate and reboot the Presidential Amnesty Programme to meet current realities in the Niger Delta region and Nigeria at large.
His words: ‘‘I wish to use the opportunity of the inauguration of this committee to underscore the compelling need to re-calibrate and reboot the Presidential Amnesty Programme to meet current realities in the Niger Delta region and Nigeria at large.
‘‘I do not intend to run a one-man-show. I am very conscious of the fact that the region, like most other parts of Nigeria, is a repository of intellectuals and innovative thinkers.
‘‘Given my resolve to put my best foot forward in carrying out the assignment our great nation has given me, I shall constantly be tapping from the massive pool of intellectual resources that are abound across Nigeria. It is pursuant to this resolve that I have invited some of the best minds I know to help me and indeed the Federal Government of Nigeria, to begin the processes of charting a new course for the Amnesty Programme.
‘‘For now, these eminent Nigerians will help me review the hand over note and the briefs submitted by all departmental heads. They are at liberty to call for and review other books in the Amnesty Office. The Review Committee has my full authority and approval to take oral depositions or seek clarifications from any person or persons including current departmental heads.’’
According to him, the Review Committee is comprised of four senior officials from the Amnesty office and four experts that were carefully selected from outside of the office.
The four officials from the Amnesty Office that are serving in the committee are the Director of Finance and Accounts, the Director of Procurement, Director of Administration as well as the Head of Audit, adding that the Director of Procurement, is the chairman of the committee, while the Head of
Administration of the office shall serve as the secretary of the committee.
The external members of this Review Committee are as follows: Prof. Ayibaemi Spiff ; Chief Otonye T.K.D Amachree; Mr. U nyime Isong Eyo and Ms. Azizat Mohammed .
The Committee’s terms of reference are as follows: To take a critical look at the hand over notes given to me with a view to ascertain the current status of the Programme. The Committee shall also review the hand over notes of current departmental heads as submitted to the new Coordinator; ascertain current level of compliance with the original mandate of the Presidential Amnesty Programme; to suggest or recommend Programme or policy reviews, where necessary; to review all contracts awarded by the Amnesty Office since 2015 with a view to determine the levels of work done, monies paid, beneficiaries and extent of work done so far and thereby recommend a payment schedule for ONLY those qualified to be paid.
The Committee is also charged to determine financial assets and liabilities of the Amnesty Office
A thorough assessment of all departments in the office and offer useful suggestions on how to improve on the performance of these departments moving forward; undertake a thorough personnel audit with a view to ascertaining the number of persons currently working in the Amnesty Office and the suitability of all officials [or the offices they currently occupy; determine the current status of all the reintegration centers built or are still under construction across the states in the Niger Delta; ascertain the current status of the database of the Amnesty Office with a view to determining its certainty and sanctity; determine the current status of all on-going vocational, educational and post-training empowerment programmes of the office within the country and offshore Assess the current relationship between the Amnesty Office and the Presidential Amnesty Programme’s critical stakeholders with a view to suggesting ways of making the relationships even more robust.
According to him, the committee was expected to commence sitting yesterday (Thursday) 5th, April, 2018, and has two weeks to complete its assignment.
When asked if the administration is going to focus on agriculture, he said, ‘‘a lot of money will be invested in agriculture for us to have food security.
Because nations like China have defeated hunger with agriculture. Agriculture is a good vehicle to drive this programme. It is not going to be left idol, we are going to resuscitate it and make it viable so that those in agriculture sector can earn their money and live the kind of life they want to live.’’
On the possibility of absorbing new entrants, he said: ‘‘there is no way for new entrants to come. It has been closed, since 1999 this programme has been on. Whatever programme you are doing, or running, you cannot spend 9 years in a university for one course, even if there are challenges. To bring in new people, in my tenure, I will not allow it.
‘‘The Amnesty programme is a regional programme for Niger Delta region. Boko Haram emanated from a region; I believe something else will be set up for those regions. I cannot be incharge of that programme.’’
For those who are still undergoing training and studying in various institutions, he said, ‘the programme is a continuous programme; some of them are in their second and third year. They will start and complete the programme. It is only then that we will know those remaining. I have made contact with Aero Airline and others so that those who are qualified as pilots can be accepted, so that we can persuade the government to give them tax holidays in the acceptance of their training.
‘‘This programe is committed to returning the lives of people in the Niger Delta to health so that those who are can depend on themselves.’’
On his part, the Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Ayibaemi Spiff said the inauguration of the Committee was timely and assured that it would deliver on its task.
‘‘I feel very privileged. It is the right thing to do and at the right time. Being the right thing to do, it gives me a sense of fulfillment. I fell very harpy, I am set to work. We have to do real work within the 14 days given to us.
‘‘With hindsight of what the programme is all about, and the criticisms against it, we are set to deliver.
Somehow, we are inaugurated today. I am sure in a few hours, we will be given the scope of work to do and we will be very happy to deliver. It will enhance peace in the Niger Delta.’’