…says PAP used to enrich few individuals

By Michael Eboh & Fortune Eromosele

Despite its failings and widespread inefficiencies, Nigeria’s Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, gulped N500 billion from 2009 to 2020, according to a report on the Assessment of the Programme, published, Tuesday, by Nextier Security, Peace and Development, SPD.

According to the report, the amnesty project had failed to achieve its purpose for establishment, which is the sustainable human and infrastructural development of the Niger Delta.

It stated that since its inception, the amnesty programme had been marred by corruption, lack of transparency and elite capture, and had continued to enrich a few individuals with the Niger Delta region and the country.

The report noted that, “It is estimated that the programme has gulped more than N500 billion, from 2009 till date. From its inception to 2014, N234 billion was estimated to have been expended on the programme. With a boost to its yearly budget from N20 billion to N65 billion in 2017, its yearly budget increased by N30 billion.

“While the programme gifted the monthly stipends to lower cadre ex-militants, it provided multi-dollar pipeline security surveillance contracts to ex-militant generals and other forms of contracts to other elite members of the society. The programme has continued to enrich a selected few within the region and in the country while the majority of people from local oil communities are marginalized or excluded.”

The report further described the Amnesty Programme as a burden on the federal budget and explained that it could be seen as unsustainable in the coming years.

It pointed that: “With a monthly allocation of N5.5 billion, about N2.3 billion of which goes into payment of school fees and N65, 000 monthly stipends to beneficiaries of the programme and the rest of the allocation on contracts and office running costs, the programme has not delivered on one of its major objectives, which is getting ex-agitators into regular paid employment.”

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“It has continued to pay many of them even after their training, showing that the programme’s design may be fundamentally flawed and may not have been designed to achieve its objectives.”

According to the report, the PAP is a five-year programme which ought to run from 2010 to 2015, stating that it is now in its 10th year and gradually becoming a bureaucratic institution rather than an intervention programme designed to solve a specific problem.

It noted that, “It has become more of a contract awarding government department, with 58 per cent of its monthly allocation going into the running of the office and contracts, while 42 per cent is for payment of training and school fees as well as the N65, 000 stipends.”

Addressing the issue of transition, the report stated that the sacking of the incumbent PAP Coordinator, Professor Charles Dokubo, has thrown the region into an avoidable jostle for power.

The report added: “This power tussle often pitches some communities in the region against each other over who produces the next head of the agency and if it does not end well, the transition process could be adversely impacted.

“The transition process would provide the best opportunity for adopting a more sustainable leadership structure for the agency, if the transition is not well thought through, well-handed and widely accepted, it might result in the security situation in the region becoming worse than before the Amnesty was proclaimed.”

Vanguard

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