Ex-militants in Akwa Ibom state have requested the federal government to probe the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) because of the alleged massive corruption and marginalization that characterize the exercise.
In a statement issued on Monday by Akwa Ibom Ex-militants Forum signed by its secretary, Comrade Sunny Afiah and made available to newsmen in Uyo, the group lamented that they have not been paid their monthly stipends for several years.
They said that despite a Uyo High Court judgement which mandated that they should be paid, the Presidential Amnesty Programme office has continued to withhold their stipends and in some instances removed their names from the programme.
The ex-agitators also alleged that they have not benefited from any vocational/educational training and empowerment scheme earmarked by the federal government in the programme package to the beneficiaries
The statement reads in parts: “The beneficiaries from Akwa Ibom State have been singled out to suffer untold marginalization ranging from diversion of their monthly stipends, outright stoppage of monthly stipends without reason, substitution of authentic beneficiaries with unknown individuals.
“None of us from the state has benefited from education or vocational training or empowerment. It is therefore pertinent to state that the injustices against us have reached their peak and we can no longer accept it.
“Permit us to state here that one of the camps in Akwa Ibom State, Niger Delta Liberation Movement has been owed seven months’ stipends arrears to 20 beneficiaries since 2014 by the presidential amnesty office.
“We have made several efforts to but they ignored despite the Uyo High Court Judgment mandating presidential amnesty office to pay.
“In another instance, the presidential amnesty office stopped the payment of monthly stipends of twenty-two (22) beneficiaries of Ukanafun Freedom Fighters since 2010, a few months after enrolment and payment, several efforts have been made to ensure that payment is made but to no avail.
“It is unfortunate to state here that the aim for which the Presidential Amnesty Programme was set up is about to be defeated as a result of discrimination, marginalization, fraud and bias in the system.
“We therefore call on the office of the National Security Adviser to the President, the Senate President–Chief (Dr.) Godswill Akpabio, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta, the Chairman, House of Representative Committee on Niger Delta, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, EFCC, ICPC and other relevant authorities to conduct a proper investigation into the activities of the Presidential Amnesty Office about the dealings with beneficiaries from Akwa Ibom State” he said.