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Special Adviser to the President and Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof Charles Dokubo, yesterday, gave assurance of prompt payment of monthly stipends and provision of other welfare packages for ex-Niger Delta agitators and their leaders.
He said this was vital for sustenance of the prevailing peace and security in the region to enhance development.
Addressing second and third phase leaders of ex-agitators in the Amnesty Programme at a meeting in Abuja, Dokubo said funds budgeted for the programme are meant for the training of its beneficiaries, and not to be diverted into private pockets.
The meeting, which had over 70 leaders of Niger Delta ex-agitators in attendance, was held at the Abuja Sheraton Hotel and Towers.
Dokubo, who was saddened by complaints of anomalies caused by previous management of the Amnesty Office in the payment monthly stipends to ex-agitators and placement of delegates for vocational and educational programmes, expressed his resolve to breathe fresh air into the Amnesty Programme and drive it for the benefit of bona fide beneficiaries.
Today, I am meeting with you one-on-one. I will speak with everyone of you and if you feel agitated by any step I have taken, please tell me. We are going to rectify things; we are going to have all the collective views of those who have gathered here.
I know that you are not the only commanders, but I strongly believe that if you go away from here there is something you will take home with you; you will take home to your friends and also those who are in your command that this is what I have said and this is the way we are going to approach it.
I believe that with you, we are going to move this region forward.
While assuring on fairness and transparency in the discharge of his duties, he said funds meant for beneficiaries would be properly utilized.
I will continue to operate an open door policy; I will give listening ear to leaders of ex-agitators.
Let us run the Amnesty Programme in such a way that the bona fide beneficiaries get the benefit.
He urged leaders of ex-agitators not to promote parochial interests, but to work with the Federal Government in the interest of the Niger Delta people by striving to sustain the ideals of the Amnesty Programme.
I was appointed to help the Niger Delta people; I have started and I am learning fast.
As far as I am in office, I will try and drive this programme.
For me, it’s work in progress. I will try and do my best. Let us not do things that will destroy the programme.
“On the issue of paying stipends as at when due, you will remember that the last time, I paid stipends for two months. The one of last month, you will get it next week”.