Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja and Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, has pledged frugal management of funds meant for beneficiaries of the programme.
He made pledge when the leadership of the Niger Delta Amnesty Law Students Association (NDALAWSA) paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja and added that his preoccupation is to ensure the programme achieves the purpose for which it was set up.
Dokubo said budgetary allocations to the amnesty office would be judiciously utilised under his watch.
“I will make sure you get your money whenever due. The money is not my own, it was given to the office because of beneficiaries of the programme. And, I will do whatever it takes to make sure those of you in the programme get all that have been assigned to you,” he said.
The presidential adviser frowned at complaints of delays and irregularities in payment of stipends and other allowances to beneficiaries which had bedevilled the amnesty office prior to his appointment and promised to put an end to the anomalies.
“I will stop that I am glad by what you’ve said and I am also ready to look at the challenges you’ve mentioned that you’ve faced here. I will try as much as possible to get in touch with those involved in training, education and others to find out if what you said is the proper process; and if it is the process, I will continue and I will not fail, because going to school is not an easy task
“So, if the office is responsible for your education, we will try and shoulder it with you and make sure we are going to stand shoulder to shoulder with you and help you to attain the height you’ve set for yourself and for this programme. I will call those in charge of payment of stipends and other allowances to look at how much is being paid, and we should also know when the Law School opens so that our students will be enrolled and graduate with their peers and they will not be lagging behind because the office refused to pay fees and allowances or that payments were not made as at and when due.”
Responding to a request by the Niger Delta law students for an upward review of their allowances, Dokubo said his decision will be based on set guidelines and standards in that regard.
Speaking earlier, NDALAWSA President, Kuete Priye Noel, who expressed dismay at attempts by some self-seeking individuals and faceless groups to distract Dokubo from achieving his lofty objectives for beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme, pledged the unflinching support of members of his association.
Meanwhile, a coalition of former agitators and freedom fighters in the Niger Delta region has lauded the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Amnesty Matters, Charles Dokubo, for his commitment to peace in the region.
The ex-agitators, who met in Warri, Delta State at the weekend, under the aegis of Niger Delta Peace Awareness Movement, said Dokubo has not only sustained the existing peace but also built on it to create a harmonious atmosphere for all stakeholders in the once volatile region.
National Leader of the group, Alhaji Awo Harmony, who spoke with journalists said: “Peace building is a continuum, as such, we need to continuously assess the situation of things in the region and identify obstacles that constitute threats to peace. Before now, most of the ex-agitators were disgruntled because of the non-payment of their monthly stipends.
“We are happy that today, we have an amnesty coordinator whose commitment to resolving the Niger Delta crisis is second to none. Within the short period that he has been in office, he has settled all outstanding allowances owed ex-agitators.”
On his part, spokesman for the Supreme Egbesu, Commander Kingsley Opukuri, commended Dokubo for yielding to their call for multi-literal peace building approach.