By Samuel Ogidan
House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Niger Delta Affairs to probe the Presidential Amnesty Office for Niger Delta ex-agitators over the utilisation of funds allocated to it since its inception in 2009.
The committee, which was also mandated to report back for further legislative action, is expected to do an impact assessment of the programme on ex-agitators and the Niger Delta region.
The resolution of the House l followed the adoption of a motion moved by Hon. Adamu Chika on the need to investigate the Amnesty Office so as , “to ensure accountability and efficiency of the programme”.
Leading debate on the motion, Hon. Chika, argued that although the budget of the Amnesty Office ranges between N60 billion and N70 billion annually, the implementation of its programmes is shrouded in secrecy.
He said: “Since the commencement of the amnesty programme nine years ago, no form of evaluation has been done, to know if the programme has achieved its objectives.
“In the past nine years, nobody can say this is the impact the programmes has made in the Niger Delta, where it is expected to cater for.
“The report of the discovery of 9million dollar in a private home is an indication that funds have not been adequately utilised.”
Chika recalled that in spite of huge allocation to the Office, “hundreds of ex-agitators” stormed the National Assembly on November 1, 2017, to protest the non-payment of their stipends and other allowances spanning several months.
“Few days ago, President Muhammadu Buhari relieved the coordinator of the programme, Brig. Gen. Paul Boro (rtd) of his duties on the heels of allegations of mismanagement of funds by the office under his watch”, he said.
Contributing to the debate, Hon Fred Agbedi said an investigation into the activities of the Presidential Amnesty Office will enable the government to know how productive the office has been.
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By Samuel Ogidan