Abuja—A group, the Niger Delta Peace Advocates has dismissed an allegation by ex-agitators of the second phase of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) of the existence of a fraud within the Amnesty Office, calling it tissues of lies fabricated in the minds of its promoters.
An online report had quoted the ex-agitators as congratulating President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and asking him to sack the Interim Administrator of the Programme, Major General Tariye Ndiomu (rtd).
Their reason was that Ndiomu was corrupt and never meant well for the oil-bearing communities since he assumed duties as Interim Administrator.
A statement by the group signed by its Chairman, Ebitimi Kurowei and Secretary, Amangiye Thomas, stated that since the assumption of office, Ndiomu has brought a regime of reforms to the Programme.
The statement was also signed by the Vice Chairman, Fred Ekpebugha and the Publicity Secretary, Ekpe Ekpe-Ekere.
According to the group, he has instituted initiatives that have blocked leakages and conduits through which many of those accusing him of fraud have been profiting and stealing money meant for genuine ex-militants.
The statement reads in part:
“We have noticed a pattern in the orchestrated attacks on the person of Ndiomu. Each time the Administrator pushes through a reform, he got pelted with attacks.
“Each time he insists on an audit of operations of the Programme, the corrupt mob who have been cheating through the system will launch a tirade and cheap media attack to discredit the Administrator”.
“The latest in the series of such very unintelligent media lynching of Ndiomu was a poorly scripted press statement credited to a section of bad-tempered ex-agitators in which they urged Tinubu to sack Ndiomu on account of fraud”
“We can confirm that the reform of probity, accountability and transparency instituted by Ndiomu is yielding anticipated fruits.
“The forensic audit carried out on the operations of the Programme which exposed monumental fraud bordering on flawed payment systems and contract inflation has ruptured the nerves of some persons who have been chief beneficiaries of the criminally bloated payments to ghost agitators.
“This is why they are fighting the Interim Administrator. He has stopped them from stealing from the system. He has ended the era where one BVN is attached to over 30 bank accounts for the purpose of siphoning money from the Programme to private pockets.”
The group urged the President-elect and the general public to see “this platoon of ex-agitators for who they are, a gang of never do well who would rather appropriate the money meant for the Programme to themselves than have it spent on the genuine ex-agitators who the Programme was instituted to address their challenges for the general good of the Niger Delta and its people.”
“In barely six months, Ndiomu has saved the Programme over N1.5 billion from bizarrely inflated contracts;
“He has restored sanity in the payment system and he has effectively positioned the Programme towards achieving its core mandate by addressing the needs of delegates rather than meeting the needs of a few emergency contractors who lack both competence and capacity,” the statement noted.
They maintained that the initiatives introduced by Ndiomu are strategic ways of positioning the PAP towards a sustainable transition to something more permanent.
“We, therefore, urge the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore the allegations of these ex-agitators.
“They are not crying because of the people, they are crying because of their selfish and misguided ambition to bring the Programme to its sour past where anything goes has been busted.
“These complaining ex-militants deserve to be chastised for preferring evil over good,” the statement added.