Ex-Militants Stranded

Former Niger Delta militants on Tuesday sent an appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari over alleged poor condition of living of over 500 foreign scholarship beneficiaries under the Federal Government amnesty programme.

Leaders of the ex-militants said in their letter to the President that the absence of a substantial presidential special adviser and chairman for the Presidential Amnesty Programme had thrown the programme into crisis.

The former militants also said the people of the Niger Delta would continue to monitor the disposition of the Buhari administration to the continued implementation of the amnesty programme.

The ex-militants, under the aegis of the Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative, said the preliminary complaints received from the beneficiaries of the programme on training abroad indicated that they had been living in deplorable conditions.

They said the amnesty benefiaciaries’ poor condition was due to the lack of funding and non-payment of May stipends by the Federal Government.

In a statement by an ex-militant leader, Pastor Reuben Wilson, the former militants urged Buhari to urgently appoint a special adviser to the President on Niger Delta matters.

Wilson said, “We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately appoint the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta.

“This call is sequel to the approval of the number of special advisers by the National Assembly as requested by Mr. President and the impending crisis as a result of the vacancy.

“We, therefore, write to implore the President to quickly appoint a credible person as a special adviser on Niger Delta affairs and Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme, a post which Kingsley Kuku just vacated.

“This request is coming on the grounds that the absence of the SA/Chairman has hindered the payment of the monthly stipends to the beneficiaries, both home and abroad.

“Our brothers and sisters currently schooling abroad on the platform of the Presidential Amnesty Programme are suffering due to lack of funds as they have yet to receive their monthly allowances.”

He said there was a palpable tension in the Niger Delta region as a result of the non-payment of the monthly stipends for May to the amnesty beneficiaries.

“It is therefore in the interest of peace and stability in the Niger Delta that this situation be nipped in the bud by a speedy appointment of a credible person into the above office. We urge Mr. President to treat this matter with the urgency and seriousness it deserves,” Wilson said.

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