Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa
The Movement for the Survival of Izon Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta, (MOSIEND) has advocated a review of the database of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) beneficiaries to correct errors.
The Niger Delta group called on the National Security Adviser to the President, Nuhu Ribadu, to correct the errors in the records of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
The group noted that the inherent errors which have resulted in the delisting of some ex-agitators are pitching them against Major General Barry Ndiomu (rtd), the Interim Administrator, whereas the errors had been in the records before his appointment.
Kenedy Tonjo-West National President of MOSIEND made the call on Tuesday while reacting to the alleged maltreatment of an ex-agitator, Pere Ebidowei from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
Ebifiwei was allegedly manhandled by soldiers at the Presidential Amnesty office in Abuja for unruly conduct.
Tonjo-West said it would be better for the Presidential Amnesty register to be sanitised to stop multiple payments of stipends to ensure that no beneficiary receives multiple stipends.
He noted that cleaning up the database and fixing the inherent errors would stop the incessant demonstrations against the Interim Administrator.
While frowning at the alleged maltreatment of the ex-agitator, Tonjo-West also advised ex-militants and other stakeholders to be diplomatic and always follow due process; saying that coming to a Niger Delta is not a justification for one to disobey constituted authority or challenging military men discharging their duties.
He condemned the misleading reportage of the incident wherein the Interim Administrator, Ndiomu, was blamed for what transpired in his absence.
He regretted distorted reports going as far as misinforming the public that Ebidowei was beaten to death, all in a bid to cause panic and malign the IA who is also a son of the Niger Delta.
The MOSIEND president attributed the challenges at the Presidential Amnesty office to poor funding of the programme, adding that right from inception, the budget of the PAP has not been reviewed upward, despite inflationary trends.
He advised the NSA to look critically at these issues, saying that it is about time the budget of the Amnesty Programme was reviewed to meet the present realities of Nigeria.
He said delisting these ex-agitators for inconsistencies on the part of the PAP will cause frustration in the beneficiaries and compel them to go into sundry crimes like kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, and oil theft which will have adverse effects on the people of the Niger Delta.
Tonjo-West called on the NSA to reposition the programme to function effectively by reintroducing the Presidential Amnesty Committee PAC – confirming Ndiomu as the chairman.
“It will be recalled that the programme, from the outset, was stakeholders driven, and for no genuine reason, other members of the committee were dropped; making it look like a one-man affair, and that is where the errors set in.
“Hence, the only way Mr Nuhu Ribadu can get it right is to return it to its original status.
“The NSA should also see to the immediate upgrade through a supplementary budget, which we believe President Tinubu will be disposed to as a president who understands the peculiar needs of the Niger Delta.
“Of course, it was absurd to run the programme with the budget that was prepared by Hon. Dr Kingsley Kuku nine years ago, which is largely responsible for the problems the programme is facing, no thanks to Maj. Gen. Mungunu, former NSA, who was all out to shut down the programme without being sensitive the havoc wrecked on the programme,” Tonjo-West said.