Niger Delta: Reps demand urgent payment of N15bn Amnesty arrears
*Reps ask Nigerian govt to release N15 billion to settle fees, allowances of 30,000 Amnesty programme beneficiaries
*Nigeria’s parliament to investigate lack of funds for Delta militant amnesty
The House of Representatives has called on the federal ministry of finance to release 15billion Naira for the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme as included in the 2016 appropriation Act.
The House further mandated its committee on Niger Delta Ministry to investigate the circumstances leading to funding constraints affecting the amnesty programme with a view to avoid reoccurrence and report back within two weeks for further legislative action.
These resolutions was sequel to a motion sponsored by Mr. Leo Ogor (PDP, Delta) during plenary on Tuesday.
Explaining on the floor, Ogor said that the Federal Ministry of Finance has not released to the Amnesty Programme the sum of 15 billion Naira budgeted for in the 2016 Appropriation Act.
The House Minority leader disclosed that 30,000 beneficiaries who are paid a monthly allowance of N65,000.00 are being owed 5 months arrears.
On the Education Programmes (Onshore), Ogor said that the debt to universities in the country is N1.873 billion adding that a backlog of unpaid in-training allowances amounting to N830million was being owed.
He explained that the Educational Programme (Offshore) was also suffering the same fate as unpaid in-training allowances for 750 students between 2016 and 2017 is US$4million (equivalent of N1.332 billion).
Ogor further explained that an unpaid tuition fee for 350 students amounting to the sum of US$17.500 million (equivalent of N5.513 billion was also being owed.
He expressed concerns that 70% of the 637 students in various institutions in 27 countries who are expected to graduate at the end of the 2016/2017 academic year may not be able to do so for non-payment of tuition fees.
According to Igor, “more than 80% of them have been excluded from studies and if the tuition fees are not settled it may lead to their having to repeat the whole academic session, thus compounding the financial burden;
“100 graduates are currently stranded in the United States of America, Malaysia, United Kingdom and South Africa, waiting for their October, 2016 to January, 2017 allowances to enable them settle their bills and return back to Nigeria;
“Students in the United Kingdom have planned to protest at the Nigerian High Commission any moment for non-payment of their tuition fees and allowances by the Amnesty Office.”
This, he said, when carried out, will bring Nigeria to ridicule and opprobrium before the international community.
Ogor further stated that the situation is becoming more serious and is capable of truncating the lofty Programme as tension and threats are already palpable in the Niger Delta Region and amongst the beneficiaries of the Programme.
He urged the federal government to give urgent attention to the matter, adding that it is capable of bringing Nigeria into disrepute nationally and internationally, unless the matter is addressed.
Also contributing to the motion, Johnson Agbonayinma (APC, Who) called on the lawmakers to interface with the executive to hear the plea of the amnesty group stressing that Nigeria should be put first before any political party.
Speaking in favour of the motion, Pally Iriase (APC, Who) advised members to support the motion to avoid crisis in the country.
” The motion is very important because the agitation could become something unimaginable unless we do something,“ he advised.
Niger Delta Amnesty Programme: Niger Delta Amnesty Programme