By Emma Amaize
YENAGOA- ABOUT 10,000 Niger-Delta ex-militants under the auspices of Non-Violence Ex-Agitators in the Presidential Amnesty Programme, NVAPAP, who claim they were trained and inducted into the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, have raised the alarm that since 2009, some unidentified government officials and ex-militant leaders have been siphoning their N65, 000 monthly stipends.
The ex-agitators in a statement by their Chairman, Otutufugha Mark, alleged that secretaries to the various ex-militant camps use the names of genuine beneficiaries to open accounts with the banks, but pay the money to surrogates who in return, transfer between N55, 000 to N60, 000 to the secretaries’ accounts.
They accused the President Buhari administration, successive PAP Coordinators, government officials and self-styled PAP “generals” of shortchanging them, calling President Buhari, Vice- President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Chairman, PAP and Special Adviser to the President on Niger- Delta, Prof. Charles Dokubo, to probe the supposed rip-off.
Dokubo paying stipends to ex-agitators – Ganagana
Contacted, Mr. Murphy Ganagana, Special Assistant (Media) to the Chairman, PAP, and Special Adviser to the President on Niger-Delta, Prof. Charles Dokubo, told NDV that since Prof. Dokubo took over PAP barely a year ago, he has been paying stipends of ex-agitators.
He explained that Prof. Dokubo could not have sat over the diversion of stipends of ex-agitators, who registered in 2009 when he was only appointed last year.
Ganagana punctured the claim that ex-agitators captured in the PAP were not being paid their stipends, asking: “Where have these people been since 2009 under the different Coordinators of PAP, why is it that it is now that they are raising the matter?”
He said it was ridiculous that the group also accused President Muhammadu Buhari of shortchanging them, adding: “You can quote me, everybody knows that President Buhari is not a corrupt person, he has nothing to do with payment of stipends to ex-agitators and since Prof. Dokubo was appointed, even as I speak to you, payments are ongoing.”
How they shortchange us
Mark, who dismissed the claim that they were not bona fide beneficiaries, said: “We have made several phone calls and written a lot of letters, even visited the Amnesty office in Abuja several times, but they have refused to pay us.
“Each time we call the Amnesty office, they will say Tompolo and the other generals have signed agreement not to pay some of the boys, which to us is a big lie.
“These stories are being formulated by the Amnesty office and secretaries to the generals, who are representing the various camps in the Amnesty office currently and others outside the office.
“If truly there is any agreement signed by the generals with the Amnesty office, they should publish it.
“Most of the secretaries to these various camps are working with the banks, they will use the names of genuine beneficiaries to open accounts, but the money will be paid to a neutral person, who has no idea of the Amnesty program, in return, the person will now transfer N60,000 or N55,000 to the secretaries’ accounts.
“We know that most of these secretaries’ assets and property are worth millions of Naira, which is not possible to acquire with their normal stipends even for next 15 years. We know most of the people these secretaries are using to operate those illegal accounts.
Buhari, Senate, EFCC should probe allegation
“We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice- President, Senate President, Speaker of the House Representatives and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to immediately call on Charles Dokubo to go to each state for verification, if not, we will use our PVCs and do everything possible to vote the present administration out the way we voted the previous administration out, thinking that this administration will be better,” the group asserted.
The group stated that on the 25th of August 2018, an official of PAP in response to a petition from the Niger-Delta Ex-Agitators Forum, NDEF, affirmed that “Otutufegha Waibode Mike is a genuine beneficiary,” yet it refused to pay him and other members of the forum their stipends.
The ex-agitators, who threatened to vote against Buhari in last Saturday’s polls if the matter was not addressed, said: “We have decided to vote against President Buhari for failing to fight corruption in the Amnesty office. We want to assume that he is benefiting from the corrupt system of the programme and that is why he failed to probe the Amnesty scandals.”
We’ve not been paid stipends since PAP inducted us
They said: “We are shortchanged ex-agitators, we embraced the first phase of the Federal Government Niger-Delta Amnesty programme in 2009. We are about 10,000 that were shortchanged. We attended the first training at Obubra where we were finally inducted to the Amnesty programme.
“We opened all our bank accounts at Obubra. Since then till date, we have not been paid our monthly stipends. We have gone through all the processes, which include disarmament and documentation at Obubra…”
The ex-agitators asserted, “We urged President Buhari to use the avenue of the postponement /pushing forward of the Presidential and National Assembly elections to address our demands because over 10,000 shortchanged agitators under the amnesty program, still under bondage/injustice are waiting for this administration to solve their problems basically on the non payments of local stipend rights from 2009 till date are ready to vote him out.”
Our details in PAP database
They stated, “Our names and every other details and information are in the Amnesty office database/FENH, as we have undergone all training, both home/abroad, but we are boycotted in the local stipend or monthly stipend of N65,000”
“We want to use this medium to tell this present administration to call on Prof. Charles Dokubo to immediately answer/solve the problem of these aggrieved ex-agitators, so as for them to work with this administration, otherwise…
“The federal government has been allocating billions of naira for the Amnesty program based on the 30,000 thousand beneficiaries captured in the beginning of the programme, meanwhile, over 10,000 thousands beneficiaries are being shortchanged and their stipends are been diverted through the secretaries to the generals from the various camps,” the group maintained.
The group, which unveiled the names of their leaders, declared, “These are the names and un-codes of the seven (7) of us; Otutufegha Mike Waibode (chairman, Shortchanged Ex-Agitators Forum) un-code- C03/B10/E4/13594; Gbenana Yinzuo (vice chairman) un- code, C01/B11/A1/14045 ;) Johnbull Ayoro, un- code C04/B06/T2/B5454; Mughelli Isaac un –code, C02/B13/D5/1750; Peter Luke, un code-C05/B06/Y3/B5713, and Boi Patience Tasiana, un code-C01/B11/B1/14122,”
On the 25th of August 2018, an official of PAP in response to a petition from the Niger Delta Ex-Agitators Forum, NDEF, affirmed that “Otutufegha Waibode Mike is a genuine beneficiary”, yet it refused to pay him and other members of the forum their stipends.