…calls for prosecution of officers involved in contract, scholarship racketeering
The Niger Delta Anti-corruption Forum (NDAF), has hailed the courage of the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Colonel Milland Dixion Dikio to flush out bad eggs in the amnesty office.
The group said, report of the dismissal of some officers who for long has been milking the PAP dry came as a huge relief to them and a pointer that Dikio’s military background was not a fluke.
Rising from its quarterly meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the group said the dismissed officers are well known to have enriched themselves through phoney contracts and scholarship racketeering running into billions of naira.
In a statement made available to newsmen after the meeting and signed by its coordinator, Samuel Joe Samuel, the group alleged that such dubious characters in the amnesty office use fake contractors to plunder the resources of the PAP.
The statement added that their cruel actions has derailed the programme and constrained genuine efforts to meet up with the statutory obligations of the PAP.
They stated that the rot in the amnesty office caused by the established criminal enterprise has been tolerated for too long by previous leaders of the programme because of the external involvement of highly influencial beneficiaries of the illegal revenue from fathom contracts and scholarships.
The group said: “We received a cheering news last week that there was an ongoing cleansing of the Presidential Amnesty office in Abuja and upon investigation we confirmed that it was true. To us as a group, it is one of the best news we have heard and we are happy about it.
“A lot of people are not aware that 50 to 60 percent of the contractors handling various projects are staff of the amnesty office. They use people to front. It is also on record that most of the contracts they award to themselves does not exist. They just get the money and lavish.
“It is the same thing they do with the PAP scholarship that is meant for people of impacted communities. They hijack the scholarships and sell slots. In some schools there are only about 20 to 25 srudents but the amnesty office pays the fees of as much as 50 to 60 students.
“Their illicit activities has made them extremely wealthy. In Abuja alone, these people have choice properties here and there at the expense of the original beneficiaries of the programme. And a lot of our people don’t know about it.
“When Colonel Milland Dixion Dikio came and said he wanted to reposition the PAP, they declared war on him, frustrated every move he made but the man has lived up his military background. He has shown capacity to do the right thing.
“We are proud of him and we admire his boldness in the face of the sponsored attacks against him. It is left for him to go after the rest. There are more people who are also involved in the sharp practices.
The group insisted that those erring officers who have been shown the way out must be prosecuted because of the magnitude of their crime so as to serve as a deterrent to others.
“We’re calling on the Interim Administrator of the PAP, to ensure that those culprits and their gang of collaborators are brought to justice. It is not enough to sack them, they should be arrested and prosecuted.
“Everyone who is involved in contract and scholarship scam should have their day in court. This will serve as a warning to others, minimize the level of corruption in that office and make the PAP work well”.
While assuring Dikio of their support, they also lauded him for sticking to his broad vision of repositioning the PAP, building the capacity of ex-agitators and general security and development of the region.
The NDAF equally endorsed Dikio’s strategic engagements with critical stakeholders in the region to strengthen the PAP and get them to play their various roles in the Niger Delta Recovery Plan.