February 05, (THEWILL) – Elders and Stakeholders from the Nine States of the Niger Delta region have expressed concern over the dwindling fortunes of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), due to the alleged divided attention of the Interim Administrator, Maj. Gen. Barry T. Ndiomu (rtd.), following his appointment as the substantive Chairman of an eleven-man committee of the Special Investigative Panel on Oil Theft in the region.
According to the Niger Delta Elders and Stakeholders, although the people of the region are elated that the Presidency found Ndiomu worthy of heading the Panel, the daily operations of the PAP, such as staff welfare, payments to thousands of PAP beneficiaries, tuition fees payments to thousands of beneficiaries, empowerment programmes, payment to legitimate contractors and a host of other issues bordering on National Security are being neglected due to Ndiomu’s divided attention.
The Niger Delta Elders and stakeholders under the aegis of the Movement for the Sustainable Development of the Niger Delta (MSDND), in the letter, addressed to the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Mohammed Monguno (rtd.), demanded that “there is an urgent need to have Major General Barry T. Ndiomu (rtd.), the substantive Chairman of the Special Investigative Panel on Oil Theft in the Niger Delta, to focus on his herculean tasks in the Federal Government’s fight against crude oil theft to ensure the smooth operations of his eleven-man committee.” and the “urgent need for the appointment of an Interim Administrator for the Presidential Amnesty Programme to avoid the programme’s derailment from its mandates due to neglect of official duties and responsibilities, and lack of concentration emanating from the double-portfolio given to Ndiomu.”
The letter, dated February 3, 2023, and signed by the Convener of the MSDND, Chief Ayebatekena J. Olodi and its Secretary-General, Chief Godwin Pere-Ebikabowei, stated that “in light of the unfolding, scary and scandalous revelations emanating from the office of the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Mele Kyari, to the effect that Nigeria loses a staggering sum of $1.9 billion monthly to oil theft. This revelation is not only mind-boggling but calls for urgent and proactive measures by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, to stem this ugly tide before insolvency sets in.
“Sir, our nation should not be losing $ 1.9 billion monthly to crude oil thieves. Therefore, given that our nation’s security and livelihood are at stake, we urgently call on you to use your good office to empower Major General Barry T. Ndiomu (rtd.) – the Substantive Chairman of the Special Investigative Panel on Oil Theft in the Niger Delta region, to focus on his herculean tasks in our nation’s fight against crude oil theft to ensure the smooth operations of his eleven-man committee without any distractions from over 30,000 ex-militants, staff, and thousands of stakeholders from across the nine (9) states of the Niger Delta region.”
“Based on these facts, we the Movement for the Sustainable Development of the Niger Delta hereby submit this urgent petition to your office to beseech you into using your good office to recommend someone with a proven track record from the Niger Delta region to President Muhammadu Buhari, for appointment as the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme because, the affairs of the PAP are being neglected and the PAP is in dire need of a visionary leader.
“The appointment of Maj. Gen. Barry T. Ndiomu (rtd.) – the Substantive Chairman to head the Special Investigative Panel on Oil Theft in the Niger Delta region was greeted with fanfare without a cursory look into the challenges confronting the Presidential Amnesty Programme. The Presidential Amnesty Programme was founded in 2009, with a clear mandate aimed at addressing militant activities in the Niger Delta region and to shore up oil production level, which was at 700,000 bpd when Nigeria, as a nation, almost went bankrupt.
“Today, the nation rakes in more petrol-dollar, no thanks to the Presidential Amnesty Programme. Presently, the 2022/2023 academic session has not witnessed any deployment of Amnesty beneficiaries and the door for admission into higher institutions of learning have been shut against prospective students. This seemingly unfortunate incident is traceable to the dual official responsibilities being handled by Gen. Ndiomu (rtd.).
“Besides academic issues, there are several matters ranging from non-payment of monthly stipends arrears, programme restructuring, staff welfare, training and empowerment of ex-agitators that have been abandoned.
“Sir, the country at present cannot meet its OPEC quota of 1.99 barrels per day because of economic saboteurs and the Presidential Amnesty Programme at this critical time in history, cannot be left fallow. The Amnesty Programme requires the knowledge and expertise of a very dispassionate individual, who can appreciate the journey so far. There is no gainsaying that the Amnesty Programme, under the current leadership, cannot record any meaningful achievement. Therefore, committing Maj. Gen. Barry T. Ndiomu (rtd.) to the investigative assignment of deterring Oil Thieves will be a better option in the present circumstances.
“Finally, as the National Security Adviser, who supervises the Presidential Amnesty Programme, we beseech you to use your good office to recommend someone with a proven track record from the Niger Delta region to President Muhammadu Buhari, for appointment as the Interim Administrator – Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).”