The Ex-Agitators’ Leadership Forum (EALF), Bayelsa state chapter, has appealed to the president of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to extent his investigation into financial misappropriation to the office of the Presidential Amnesty Program (PAP), saying “the interventionist program has become a cash-cow for successive interim administrators.”
In an open letter to the president, the chairman of the forum, Charles Kurobo, said while officials of PAP flourish in wealth, ex-agitator leaders and their delegates are wallowing in abject poverty and total neglect.
He said that the call for the probe has become necessary, because the PAP office continues to collect money meant for the over three thousand ex-agitators that have been delisted from its data and refused to pay for contracts awarded by the PAP office, while they continue to leave students of various training centres stranded.
Parts of the letter read: “we pray to God for you to also consider the PAP in your house cleaning exercise just as you have started with the subsidy removal and the CBN. The PAP, from all indications, has lost focus from its original mandate for which it was established over personal interest which has become a cash-cow, predominantly under the current leadership of the Interim Administrator.
“While the PAP office and its officials flourish, the Ex-Agitators’ leaders and delegates wallow in abject poverty and total neglect by the Interim Administrator, with trillions of Naira sunk in the programme from inception in 2009 till date. The present PAP’s Administrator (IA) has hijacked the programme and restricted its vast responsibility and obligation to just payment of monthly allowances which recently saw most long-time beneficiaries as unworthy.
“Your Excellency, Mr President, as the Chairman of Ex-Agitators’ Leadership Forum (EALF), Bayelsa State Chapter, our group discovered that the same reasons youths of the region took up arms against the Federal Government are still being meted out to us, the leaders and delegates by the very office set up by the Federal Government to address, manage and avoid the recurrence of what triggered militancy in the region.
“My leadership is saddled with the responsibility to project the forum in a positive light for the peaceful coexistence and the benefit of all stakeholders and make do to mitigate the following: The over three thousand (3,000) ex-agitators that have been delisted from the PAP’s data by General Barry Ndiomu (rtd.). Non-payments for contracts awarded by the PAP office and executed by leaders that are supposed beneficiaries of the programme.
“Leaving students of various training centres stranded after specific trainings. Zero empowerment and start-up funding for delegates. Zero vocational training for the majority of the delegates who are left to their fate on how to manage with their families. The inconsistent stipend of Sixty Five Thousand Naira (N65,000) only, which is not sustainable given the current economic situation in our land today.
“Mr. President, there is, therefore, an urgent need for a thorough review of the PAP activities, as very little, if any has been achieved in terms of training, empowerment and reintegration as designed by the programme from inception.”