Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Maj-Gen Barry Ndiomu (retd) says the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari scheme has produced 121 first class graduates from 2015 to 2022. Ndiomu, spoke during a meeting with traditional rulers under the auspices of the Association of Niger Delta Monarchs (ANDM). He says despite the challenges facing PAP, the programme had recorded tremendous successes in education and skill acquisition.
The PAP boss at the meeting held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, added that, currently 2,984 amnesty students are in various higher institutions undergoing their studies on scholarship. Adding that, “We have recorded quite a number of successes in the educational pursuit of the dreams of ex-agitators and all other indigenes of Niger Delta through the very robust scholarship schemes. As at today, we have 2,984 students in training, in various tertiary institutions across the country.
“We have also over these years between 2015-2022 produced 121 first class graduates in various levels of scheme. The total number of graduates between 2018-2022 is 2,881. On this number we have Bsc students 1,862, Masters degree 362, PhD 38, we also have about 53 students currently schooling abroad, first degree, Masters degree and PhD”. He identified the accuracy of PAP’s database as one of the challenges facing the programme recalled that during the disarmament and demobilisation stage, 30,000 ex-agitators were captured wondering why the number still remained the same many years after.
He revealed that, “when he took over office, they still had the 30,000 intact, based on the records.” He says investigations, reveals that, there are two categories of what is called stipend payments of the ex-agitators, “you have the bulk payment and you have the single individual payments too, that is supposed to be to individual ex-agitators.” “In the course of our investigations, the bulk payment was explained to me, as monies paid in bulk to some of the ex-militant leaders and the basis for that is because there were a number of ex-agitators in the list, that were not accounted for during the disarmament and demobilisation phases, and so there was a need for all payments to be made to the ex-militant leaders who will in turn disburse same to those affected.”
“But strangely in the course of investigating, if we could justify that of the bulk payment programme of the ex-militant leaders, we now found individuals with single BVN having multiple payments into their accounts with a single BVN, so which means a single BVN receiving 33 stipend payments of N65, 000 monthly. We want to understand exactly why an individual had 33 stipend payments into his account”. Ndiomu solicited the cooperation of traditional rulers on the ongoing reforms of the amnesty programme. He said as custodians of the culture and tradition of their people, they could deploy their enormous influence to propagate the new policy direction aimed at making PAP more impactful to the real beneficiaries.