Yenagoa—Stakeholders in the Niger Delta under the auspices of Elites of Ijaw Struggle have condemned the recent call by some ex-agitators in the region for the suspension of the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Major General Barry Ndiomu over his alleged involvement in a $2million bribe.
The stakeholders described the allegation as politically and economically motivated also, insisting it is an attempt to score political points and tarnish the image of the PAP boss.
Naija live TV had reported that some ex-agitators from the nine states of the Niger Delta petitioned the National Security Adviser, Major General Mohammed Babagana Monguno (rtd) over an alleged attempt by Ndiomu to scuttle an ongoing suit against 15 companies in a bid to arm-twist the Amnesty office to pay them N3.8billion for jobs not done in order to receive the sum of $2million as kick-back.
According to the ex-agitators, despite the fact that there are various cases in different courts against the Amnesty Office, Ndiomu had allegedly refused to file proper defence as done by his predecessor against the accused 15 companies.
The ex-agitators led by Boma Inewariku, Gabriel Atumani Victor, James Ebiaredei Collins and others also called on the National Security Adviser to suspend and investigate the Interim Administrator and appoint the most senior civil servant, or a four-man credible committee of persons from the Niger Delta region.
They suggested that the committee should comprise of an Acting Coordinator, Acting Director of Procurement, Acting Director of Finance and Acting Legal Adviser to allow the Interim Administrator to step down, as he cannot be at the helm of affairs while allegations of fraud are hanging on his neck.
Reacting to the petition on Saturday, the Elites of Ijaw Struggle in a statement signed by
Barr. J.P. Owoupele, stated that against the assertion of the ex-agitators
all evidence shows that no contract was executed.
“Though the contractor has gone to court to force the Amnesty office to pay for the job not executed, a position the office has diligently opposed through proper and diligent defense in the said suit.
“Therefore the attempt to use this issue to blackmail and paint the Interim Administrator of resolving to pay the said unexecuted contract and collect kickback from the contractor and sharing same with the National Security Adviser is not only unsavory and criminal but an unpatriotic act by the above-mentioned trio in question.
“At no time has the General insinuated to the above allegation neither has he used the National security Adviser to boast as an accomplice in this irresponsible act.
“In our view, the question to be asked is why the call for the urgent suspension of a man who is barely a month in office? Could it be that the new boss of the program is a threat to the activities of some unseen people,” they asked.
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Owoupele who is a former spokesman of the foremost Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) admonished the ex-agitators to pursue better ventures rather than being used to dent the image of a respected Ijaw son who has paid the ultimate price of serving his father land faithfully and found worthy to lead the program.
The statement also stressed that as one who had attained the rank of a Major General, Ndiomu would not succumb to such blatant lies.
According to them, “We are further informed and know as a fact that this kind of calls and petitions have been the stock in trade of people of this mould as evidenced under previous heads of the program.
“We, therefore, admonish our brothers to resist the temptation of being used in such negative and divisive roles. We must be guided in our actions as true Ijaw people especially as it concerns our corporate image as a nation.
“General Ndiomu would not be distracted in his chosen course of action which is one of giving the right kind of leadership in meeting the cardinal objectives of the program. At no time had he promised nor is he in league with the National Security Adviser to pay the said contractors given the nature of this contract.
“Understand that the looting of the Amnesty warehouse in Boro town is in the public domain and anyone claiming to have distributed such items as a contract executed is ludicrous.
“One, therefore, wonders on what premise will a man of Ndiomu’s class be willing to be part of such daylight robbery and accomplice of public funds.”
While urging the ex-agitators to shun such conducts that disparage the image of the PAP boss because he has a track record of good conduct in his years of service in the Nigerian Army, the elite group promised not to relent in their obligations to protect and speak the truth in defense of the Niger Delta.