Despite the huge allocation it receives from the federal government, the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, coordinating the Presidential Amnesty Programme for the Niger Delta region, is said to be owing school fees for students under the federal government amnesty scholarship programme, THE WITNESS reports.
Investigation by THE WITNESS further revealed that the affected universities which are being owed fees for the 2019/2020 sessions, have threatened to stop the students from attending lectures.
This is coming even as hundreds of students and beneficiaries of the Federal Government Amnesty Scholarship Programme, recently staged a grand peaceful protest in Bayelsa over non-payment of over 23-month backlog of stipends. The protesters, led by Lucky O. Ukueku, expressed annoyance that many of them have abandoned their studies with others suffering untold hardships with their families members and extended relations saying that the situation has put them in a beggarly position and called for the repositioning of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, and passed a vote of no confidence on the leadership of the office.
The Presidential Amnesty Programme, (PAP) was established on July 11, 2009 to stabilize, consolidate and sustain the security and fast-track Niger Delta development. One of the objectives of the PAP was to provide educational scholarship to ex-combatants from militancy to gainful employment and ultimately change agents.
But today, against this vision, the programme has become a ruse even as a new militant group, the Niger Delta Sea Disciplines (NDSD) have reportedly emerged.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari, recently approved the suspension of the coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Charles Dokubo, following numerous allegations and petitions.
The president also directed the national security adviser (NSA) to set up a caretaker committee to look into the PAP activities and also oversee the running of the programme henceforth, with a view to ensuring that government objectives are achieved.