From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Niger Delta Anti-corruption Forum (NDAF) has commended the interim administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Colonel Milland Dixion Dikio for his courage in flushing out bad eggs in the amnesty office.
The group which said it received with huge relief the news of the dismissal of some officers for fraudulent acts noted that Dikio’s handling of the affairs of the scheme is pointer that his military background was not a fluke.
A statement by NDAF coordinator, Samuel Joe Samuel after R its quarterly meeting over the weekend pointed that the dismissed officers are well known to have enriched themselves through phony contracts and scholarship racketeering running into billions of naira.
According to him the indicted officers use fake contractors to plunder the resources of the PAP and their cruel actions ultimately 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 influential beneficiaries of the illegal revenue from fathom contracts and scholarships.
While insisting 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, the group solicited for support for Dikio to reposition the amnesty programme
The statement read in part “We received 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 do 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 students but the amnesty office pays the fees of as much as 50 to 60 students.
“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”.