Some ex-militants, under the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), have vowed to stop presidential campaigns of any political party in the Niger Delta region over unpaid stipends to their members by the management of the programme.
The ex-militants, who staged a protest to the secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists in Yenagoa over the de-listing of 2,952 beneficiaries and refusal of the amnesty office to pay them the monthly stipends of N65,000 monthly, threatened to lead a protest to occupy PAP office in Abuja and tactical disruption of presidential campaigns of political parties within the nine states in the Niger Delta region.
The National Chairman of phase two beneficiaries of the amnesty programme, Aso Tambo, who spoke to newsmen, warned that the refusal of the amnesty office to return the affected 2,952 beneficiaries to the payroll and immediately pay them their stipends will create tension in the region.
They also gave the amnesty office one week ultimatum to commence immediate payment of those delisted from the payroll of the programme.
Tabo explained that despite the achievements recorded by the Interim Administrator, Tariye Ndiomu, in the area of security commitment from the head of service and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) in the area of employment for beneficiaries, the refusal to pay the 2,952 beneficiaries will spark tension and destroy the existing fragile peace in the region.
According to him, “We have all met and adopted our strategy against the refusal of the amnesty office to pay 2,952 beneficiaries. We want them to pay those affected within one week or else we will mobilise and occupy the presidential amnesty office in a strategic manner. If it is not still paid, we will not allow a peaceful conduct of presidential campaigns within the nine states of the Niger Delta region.”
“If they feel we are dogs that bark and cannot bite, they should dare us and see the consequence. They should consider the monthly stipends important and know that such payment will lead to an unimaginable crisis of not paid immediately.”
The ex-militants also urged the presidential amnesty office to engage stakeholders and beneficiaries before selecting those to benefit from the ongoing scholarship programme to enroll 20 persons in higher institutions of learning.