The Presidential Amnesty Programme has warned Niger Delta youths offered scholarship on compassionate grounds to study in universities across the country not to take the gesture as a right, but rare privilege to enable them acquire tertiary education and better their lives.
The Amnesty Office said being from the Niger Delta is not an automatic qualification to enjoy the benefits of the Programme, as its mandate mainly covered the management of 30, 000 persons captured in the database of beneficiaries.
Special Assistant on Media to Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, Mr. Murphy Ganagana, said in a statement, yesterday, that the warning became necessary in view of an unruly behaviour exhibited last week by some non beneficiaries of the Programme offered scholarship on compassionate grounds at the Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State.
He expressed dismay that, rather than concentrating on their studies and show gratitude to Prof. Dokubo, for providing them succour after they were fraudulently and illegally deployed to the university in March, last year, by a former official of the Amnesty Office in the previous administration, the students, who are not bona fide beneficiaries of the Programme engaged in acts that breached the peace in the university.
He said: “We wish to clarify that there are two categories of persons in the March 2018 deployment of delegates to universities onshore for various educational programmes which was illegally carried out by a former staff of the Amnesty Office under the immediate past managers of the Amnesty Programme. This became a subject of investigation by relevant security and anti-graft agencies. The discovery of illegal deployments followed a verification exercise ordered by Prof. Charles Dokubo, on assumption of office.
“A committee set up to ascertain the number of beneficiaries discovered that an alarming figure of students enrolled in universities under the Programme were not captured in the database at the Amnesty Office…”
This was against the backdrop of huge tuition fees forwarded to the Amnesty Office for payment by some universities in the country for supposed beneficiaries deployed in the institutions for study. For instance, while a new university (identity withheld) forwarded a list of 62 pre-degree students to the Amnesty Office for payment of tuitions fees, the committee discovered that only 14 of them were captured in the database of beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme.