Ex-agitators from the nine states of the Niger Delta region have enjoined the newly appointed National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, to retain the Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu (retd).
The ex-agitators under the Coalition of Ex-agitators of Niger Delta (CEND), who passed a vote of confidence in Ndiomu, told Ribadu that they were comfortable with the way and manner the interim administrator had piloted the affairs of PAP.
Speaking in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Thursday, the Chairman and Coordinator, CEND, Gershom Mpaka Gbobo, congratulated Ribadu on his appointment and said Ndiomu’s magic wand was needed for the existing peace to continue in the region.
Gbobo noted that Ndiomu since assumption of office had sanitized the PAP and rid it of corruption.
He said: “General Ndiomu (retd) as the amnesty boss has introduced life-changing and sustainable programmes for ex-agitators.
“For instance, the introduction of cooperatives by Ndiomu was designed to wean ex-agitators of dependence on N65,000 monthly stipends and make them entrepreneurs, employers of labour and contributors to the economy of the Niger Delta region and peace and the growth of Nigeria”.
Gbobo noted that Ndiomu successfully blocked all the financial leakages in PAP and stopped all corrupt practices especially multiple payments of stipends to individuals with multiple accounts linked to their BVN.
He said: “The recent attacks on Ndiomu launched by those who had hitherto turned the PAP to a cash cow or personal automated teller machine are the real enemies of the Niger Delta. These are portfolio contractors and corrupt ex-agitators affected by the Ndiomu’s reforms and initiatives.
“The coalition of ex-agitators of Niger Delta has full confidence in the Ndiomu-led administration. We have moved a vote of confidence in him because he has done well as the Interim administrator. All his initiatives are designed to sustain the peace in the Niger Delta.
“He has sanitised the office and stopped many fraudulent activities. The Interim Administrator should be retained to enable him accomplish all his initiatives which can confidently describe as the game changer for ex-agitators and the Niger Delta.
“If past leadership of the PAP with much more resources at their disposal had been as creative as Ndiomu, the PAP would have succeeded in achieving its mandate. We thank the federal government for ignoring the enemies of the region calling for his removal.
“The cooperatives he introduced is a good idea. It will help to transform the people from stipend earners to entrepreneurs. We call on the Niger Delta stakeholders to support Ndiomu to successfully carry out his programmes.
“Ndiomu is a man of character. He has no corruption. Go and check the records. We are calling on everybody to support him to achieve his plans for us”.
Gbobo said while Ndiomu’s attackers resorted to campaign of calumny was because they lacked any evidence to prove their frivolous claims against him.
He said if they were sure of their claims, they should take their matters and evidence to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-graft agencies.
He said: “We condemn the recent attacks on Ndiomu. The recent attacks are coming from unknown persons. They are not recognised by us. Their aim is to bring corruption back to the Amnesty programme. They are among those operating multiple accounts on the system and they are attacking Ndiomu for daring to stop the practice.
“Some of them took contracts but refuse to execute them. If they have any case, they should go to the EFCC with their evidence. We have also noted the recent attack by one Mr. Charles Kurubo, who does not have the mandate of the Niger Delta people to speak for us.
“Kurobo’s allegations are false and we are challenging him to take them to EFCC and other anti-graft agencies. For example his claim that 3000 ex-agitators were delisted from the programme and their stipends were being taken by PAP.
“It is a big lie. Ndiomu stopped multiple payments of stipends into one account. He only ensure that each payment is linked to one BVN and paid directly to each beneficiary. We call on all stakeholders and the federal government to ignore Charles and his frivolous claims and support Ndiomu to succeed.”