The interim coordinator of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, Col. Milland Dikio (rtd), has lamented that the amnesty programme has derailed from its original mandate due to systemic corruption.
Dikio said this on Friday while speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
He stated that the amnesty programme was owing contractors over N71.4bn.
Dikio said: “Immediately after the disarmament phase, challenges including endemic corruption cropped in and derailed the programme. Lack of funds and corruption were blamed for impeding the effective operationalization of the programme.
“Regrettably, the programme has now been running for 11 years without the desired benefits delivered to the ex-agitators, rather their database was dishonestly corrupted, and several contracts awarded in total dis- regard of need and procurement processes.
“Consequently, the programme is currently owing contractors the sum of N71,411,646,210.68. This informed Mr. President’s decision to overhaul the programme aimed at ensuring the dividends of the amnesty programme reaches its original target beneficiaries,” he said.
Dikio held that the ultimate success of the programme lies in its ability to move ex-agitators from their previous lifestyles to sustainable livelihoods, as peaceful members of their communities and net contributors to the economy.
On his part, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Munguno (rtd), said even though the programme was set up to redress observed problems facing the Niger Delta region, it has been subsumed in unrelated issues.