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Replace panel with appointment of substantive Amnesty coordinator, Niger Delta stakeholders tell Buhari


Niger Delta stakeholders have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to replace the investigative committee set up by the Office of National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd.), with the appointment of a substantive coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).

The stakeholders, under the aegis of Niger Delta Restoration Alliance (NDRA) in a statement issued in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State by Dr. Biewari James Apulu, said a substantive coordinator would take issues of the PAP beyond paying stipends, sustaining the peace and initiating security policy initiatives on behalf of the President and people of the region.

Monguno had set up the panel over allegations of corruption against former Amnesty Coordinator, Professor Charles Dokubo.

The NDRA pointed out that the tenure of the probe panel set up on February 28, 2020 expired on April 24, 2020, adding that the appointment of a substantive PAP coordinator with supervision from the Presidency would accelerate and reduce cases of fraud as perpetuated by past coordinators under wrong supervision.

Apulu called on President Buhari to disband the Amnesty caretaker investigative committee, which was established to investigate allegations of fraud and corruption against Dokubo in view of recent revelations that the committee’s mandate expired on April 24, 2020 when it completed its investigations.

The group wondered why investigators from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission ICPC and Directorate of State Services (DSS) were not invited to participate in the corruption allegations against the former coordinator.

It also queried the constitutional and prosecutorial authority of the Amnesty Caretaker Investigative Committee established by Monguno, alleging that members of the committee were allegedly operating outside their mandate by adding their signatures to the PAP’s bank account to sign and commence payments amounting to billions of Naira.

“The late former President Umaru Musa Yara’dua established the PAP to rehabilitate and reintegrate ex-agitators in the Niger Delta region whose lands have been devastated by crude oil exploration and production activities that generates over 95 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.

“The Niger Delta region comprises of nine states with millions of experienced and qualified individuals, however not even one person from the Niger Delta region was appointed as a member of the Amnesty Committee for a programme that belongs to people of the region,” the statement reads.

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