Amnesty programme: Officials failed to account for N712bn, says Monguno

THE PUNCH Newspaper- Olalekan Adetayo and Tobi Aworinde

The National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd), has said the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme has so far been subsumed in issues that are a departure from the purpose for which it was established.

Monguno, who led the Interim Coordinator of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, Col Milland Dikio (retd.), to a meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), and on Friday, told State House correspondents that N712bn was not accounted for by the programme.

He said, “The predatory instincts of certain individuals came into the fore and the programme was turned upside down and as a result of this, there was a lot of corruption, waste and mismanagement within this period.

“N712bn was wasted, basically unaccounted for, and this is due to so many issues, corruption being at the fore. Now, we realised that, if the focus of the people who are supposed to drive this programme is to capsize the programme by allowing their own personal interest to come in, then we are all going to be in trouble.

“If the Niger Delta is in trouble, consequently, it will extend to the rest of the federation. Therefore, I had to take this step to advise Mr President that this waste cannot go on. This programme is not supposed to be an open-ended programme.”

Dikio also lamented that endemic corruption had crept into the programme set up by the administration of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and derailed it, with contractors being owed over N71bn.

He said, “Immediately after the disarmament phase, challenges, including endemic corruption, crept in and derailed the programme. Lack of funds and corruption were blamed for impeding the effective operationalisation of the programme.

“Regrettably, the programme has now been running for 11 years without the desired benefits delivered to the ex-agitators. Rather, the ex-agitator database was dishonestly corrupted, and several contracts were awarded in total disregard of need and procurement processes.

“Consequently, the programme currently owes contractors the sum of N71.4bn. This informed Mr President’s decision to overhaul the programme, aimed at ensuring that the dividends of the Amnesty Programme reach its original target beneficiaries.”

“Reports have shown that not much progress has been recorded in some aspects of the demobilisation and reintegration components of the programme.

“To address this, the need to focus on education and vocational training in ways that the benefits are channelled through a transparent, accountable, corrupt-free and institutionalised process is imperative.

“The programme as currently structured is not sustainable and cannot deliver the desired long-term benefit to the region and the country,” he said.


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