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Contractors responsible for failure of amnesty programme, say Ijaw leaders

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IJAW leaders under the aegis of the Ijaw Forward Movement (IFM) have accused contractors of failure of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

The leaders lamented that the contractors who are mainly top politicians do not spend up to 15 per cent of funds given to them to train and empower beneficiaries.

In a statement issued in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday, Coordinator of IFM, Anthoni Oki, said contractors were opposing the Interim Administrator of the (PAP), Col. Milland Dikio (rtd.) because he had refused to yield to their biding.

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He said Dikio’s offence was his insistence on sanitising the payment process by following due process in verifying projects before approving disbursement of funds.

“The contractors constitute a major problem for the amnesty programme. They have hijacked the programme using all manner of underhand tactics to corner huge sums of money meant to empower ex-militants.

“They are behind the failure of the programme and inability of past coordinators to realise the PAP’s mandate. They claim they have trained and empowered about 22,000 ex-militants. Does the Niger Delta region look like where even 5,000 persons had been empowered?

“As an organisation, we took our time to investigate the activities of the contractors and we discovered from field reports that most of them do not spend up to 15 per cent of funds given to them to train and empower the beneficiaries,” he stated.

He said the contractors corner the money to maintain their flamboyant lifestyles in Abuja and Lagos, adding: “They drive exotic cars and live in mansions, while those who fought for the amnesty programme wallow in abject poverty.

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“They dangle carrots before the beneficiaries and compel them to sign papers on fake empowerment programmes.”

The IFM said a particular contractor was awarded a contract of N1.8b to evacuate and distribute amnesty kits worth over N15b warehoused at the Kaiama Training Centre in Kolokuma-Opokuma Council of Bayelsa State, but that the materials were all looted.

“That particular contractor is still mounting pressure on Dikio to pay him the money. The contractors connived against Dikio and started sponsoring campaigns of calumny and bankrolling protests and publications because the amnesty boss insisted that only verified contracts will be paid for and that payments will begin from 2014.

“They were angry recently when the Federal Government retrieved about N26b unspent amnesty funds in line with the anti-corruption. Their anger is that Dikio refused to share the money to them in two days,” he added.

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