From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
All the phases of ex-agitators in the Niger Delta region including the Presidential Amnesty Strategic Communication Committee (STRACOM), have alerted members of the public of a plot to unleash a campaign of calumny against President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd) and Gen. Barry Ndiomu (retd) on the management of PAP.
The first, second and third phase ex-agitators, who rose from their meeting organised by STRACOM in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Wednesday, also passed a vote of confidence in Ndiomu for repositioning PAP.
The stakeholders in a written address read by the National Secretary, First Phase Ex-agitator and Chairman, STRACOM, Nature Dumale Kieghe, said enemies of the Niger Delta were being recruited and bankrolled by politicians to spearhead campaigns of character assassination aimed at rubbishing the achievements of Buhari in PAP.
Others, who signed the statement are Chairman, First Phase Ex-Agitators, Rivers, Gen. Granville Ideye; Chairman, First Phase Ex-Agitators, Bayelsa, Gen. Ebite Ifiemi; National Chairman, Second Phase, Gen. Sylvester Tambo and National Chairman, Third Phase, Gen. Tonye Bobo
Dumale said some disgruntled portfolio contractors, who could no longer bypass anti-corruption measures and reforms put in place in PAP by Ndiomu were part of the ongoing gang-up to tarnish the image of Buhari, Monguno and Ndiomu.
He said: “Our investigations revealed that enemies of the Niger Delta recruited, sponsored and bankrolled by powerful politicians are spearheading these campaigns of character assassination to rubbish the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari in PAP with a sinister motive of deceiving unsuspecting members of the public to brighten their chances in the forthcoming general elections.
He said: “Their modus operandi is to accuse Ndiomu of corruption, roll out some unverifiable figures and try to link some senior officials of the amnesty office to their claims. They will also attempt to create an impression that the NSA is a direct beneficiary of the imaginary corrupt practices.
“They will also labour to condemn the NSA’s recruitment procedure of interim administrators in PAP to whip up sentiment and force the hands of the President to return PAP back to the days of the locust when greedy politicians handpicked the coordinators of the amnesty office and used them to advance their political interests.
“The recent wild, unsubstantiated, spurious and unfounded claims against the entire PAP’s administration under President Buhari by one Chief Olotu Owei is one in the series of evil campaigns and blackmail sponsored by these mischievous characters against the recent administrators of the programme including Gen. Ndiomu (retd)”.
Dumale said as owners of the programme and a committee inaugurated with the mandate of dishing out accurate information about PAP, their investigations had proved that all the allegations were a product of mischief and falsehood.
He said: “The name Olotu Owei is fictitious. Nobody bears the name. In fact, it does not exist anywhere in the Niger Delta region. Therefore, the entire piece is a pure product of a blackmail crafted by disgruntled elements to discredit President Muhammadu Buhari, NSA and the current Interim Administrator, Gen. Ndiomu (retd) because the system being operated in PAP has made it difficult for them to have free access to funds belonging to ex-agitators. If they are sure of their facts and figures, they should start by first unmasking themselves so that they will be taken seriously.
“All allegations were made without any proof. As in every typical blackmail, those behind the alleged corrupt practices against Gen. Ndiomu (retd) could not provide any proof. They could not advance any document to justify any of their allegations. Everything they said was a product of their imagination.
“They only cooked up figures and manufactured narratives to deceive unsuspecting members of the public with the sole aim of tarnishing the image of our industrious son. We challenge them to present proofs before we can consider the merits of their claims.
“There has not been a report from anywhere that PAP’s money is missing under the new IA, Gen. Ndiomu (retd). The last time we checked, the interim administrator was working to save money for PAP by renegotiating some contracts awarded before he took over the office.
“We earlier informed you that through his bargaining power, he was able to renegotiate some contracts and saved PAP N1.5bn. It is, therefore devilish, wicked and preposterous for anyone to accuse Gen. Ndiomu (retd) of stealing N3bn a few months he took over the amnesty office.
“Where could he have stolen the money from and was still able to pay monthly stipends and other monthly liabilities of the office? This allegation is baseless.
“The claim against the NSA of deploying his course mates in the military to run the affairs of the amnesty office has further revealed the main grievances of those sponsoring and promoting this blackmail.
“It is obvious that the military type of discipline in administration, fund management and organisation that had introduced key reforms in the amnesty office have eliminated wastage and blocked all loopholes used by these people to loot the resources earmarked for ex-agitators.
“All their efforts to penetrate the system and continue with business as usual, as they did when the programme was in the hands of politician, have failed. No wonder they resorted to cheap blackmail”.
Besides, Dumale said persons so far deployed by the NSA to manage PAP remained qualified sons of the Niger Delta adding that the current IA is an Ijaw son from Bayelsa State, who distinguished himself in military service to his country and rose to the rank of a general.
Dumale said: “With his military background, Ndiomu has so far performed excellently well in PAP.
Having found out that there is no modicum of truth in any of the allegations, we hereby boldly pass a vote of confidence in President Buhari, NSA and Ndiomu for the way they have so far managed the affairs of PAP. We appeal to Ndiomu not to be deterred by these detractors as they are only out to distract him and frustrate his good plans for ex-agitators and the region.
“We know that more of these allegations will be released in due course, but we, hereby, warn these enemies of progress to steer clear of Ndiomu and the amnesty office. We have activated our intelligence unit to uncover the sponsors this fresh effort to disrupt the peace in the Niger Delta. We will collate their names and hand them over to the appropriate security agencies for investigations.
“We believe that this move is geared towards stoking crisis in the Niger Delta to truncate the peace in the region. We further warn the civil servants in PAP, who have become a willing tool in the hands of these politicians to cause crisis in the region to mindful of their actions because whatever crisis that occurs in the region will affect the economy of the country and they will be held responsible.”