Amnesty: FG settles backlog of ex-militants’ allowances

There is a strong indication that the Federal Government has offset part of the outstanding allowances owed to ex-militants under the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

It was learnt that the government had paid two months out of about five months arrears of stipends owed the former agitators.

A leader of Phase 3 of the Amnesty Programme, Mr. Ramsey Mukoro, who spoke on Saturday, said that some former agitators had received two out of their arrears.

He stated, “The Amnesty Office has started paying but my third phase people have yet to get alerts. We are hoping that we in the third phase will benefit soon as well.

“It has really been difficult for us. We spent Christmas and New Year on empty stomach. The government should try to make the payment go round quick.”

Also, the Liaison Officer, PAP, Bayelsa State Office, Mr. Piriye Kiyaramo, confirmed that the Amnesty Office began the payment after the New Year holidays.

In a statement, Kiyaramo said, “The Amnesty Office commenced payment of the outstanding stipends this week after the new year, precisely on Wednesday.

“The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (retd.), is concerned about the welfare of beneficiaries in the programme.

“He would stop at nothing until a sustainable reintegration of the ex-agitators into the society with sustainable source of livelihood.”

The commencement of payment of allowances came a few days after chairmen of Phase 1 and 2 of Bayelsa State Amnesty Programme, Mr. Excel Divine, and Salvation Ibina-Rufus, respectively, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene.

They had contended that the President’s quick intervention would douse the tension already mounting in the region over the unpaid arrears.

Specifically,Ibina-Rufus, had urged Buhari to order the Federal Ministry of Finance to release money to pay the ex-agitators to avoid another round of restiveness in the region.

Ibina-Rufus had rationalised that based on the meeting they held with Boroh, the Amnesty boss had shown sincerity and commitment towards their pay but that the delay was due to Ministry of Finance inability to release funds for the Amnesty office to commence payment.