…programme can’t be indefinite –NSA
The Interim Coordinator of the Niger Delta Amnesty programme, Col. Milland Dikio (rtd.), yesterday said the agency owed contractors the sum of N71.4 billion. He also noted that the programme was derailed from its original focus by endemic corruption, stressingthatthecurrent structure could not be sustained. Speaking with journalists,after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, Dikio said the programme created to train and rehabilitates ex-agitators, was conceived by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, to last for a few years within which militants would be disarmed, demobilised and reintegrated into civil society.
He said: “Consequently, the programme is currently owing contractors the sum of N71,411,646,210.68. “This informed Mr. President’s decision to overhaul the programme aimed at ensuring that the dividend of the Amnesty reaches its original target beneficiaries. “However, immediately after the disarmament phase, challenges including endemic corruption cropped in and derailed the programme.
“Lack of funds and corruption were blamed for impeding the effective operationalisation of the programme “Regrettably, the programme has now been running for 11 years without the desired benefits delivered to the ex-agitators.
“Rather, the ex-agitators database was dishonestly corrupted, and several contracts were awarded in total disregard of need and procurement processes.” Dikio said the ultimate success of the Amnesty Programme lied in its ability to move ex-agitators from their previous life styles to sustainable livelihoods, as peaceful members of their communities and net contributors to the economy. He said: “This is why the programme was a package, designed to address the development and security issues in the Niger Delta region.”
On his part, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Munguno (rtd), said even though the programme was set up to redress observed problems facing Niger Delta arising from ecology and se-curity, among others, it has been subsumed in unrelated issues it not intended.
He said: “The predatory instincts of certain individuals came into the fore and the programme was turned upside down and as a result of this, like the administrator has just said, there was a lot of corruption, waste, mismanagement within this period; N712 billion was wasted basically unaccounted for and this is due to so many issues- corruption being at the fore.