From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa and Tony John, Port Harcourt
Fresh facts have emerged on how the Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixion Dikio (retd), discovered in his first year in office that the amnesty payroll was padded with 400 duplicated names.
A source said the discovery led to deeper investigations into the authenticity of over 3,000 accounts receiving N65, 000 monthly stipends.
He said preliminary probe revealed that some of the accounts were fake and fraudulently used to siphon funds meant for original ex-agitators.
“Immediately the investigation was ordered, the amnesty office stopped the stipends of the accounts undergoing probe. It is the right to do. I can tell you that some of the accounts had been cleared and their owners will receive their stipends. But there will be deeper probe to discover the identities of persons receiving monies through identified fake accounts.”
He said Dikio was determined to cleanse the system to ensure amnesty’s resources were expended on real and verifiable ex-agitators and not on impostors.
He claimed some angry contractors were funding propaganda against Dikio because he resisted pressure they mounted on him to pay them for jobs not done.
“Investigations revealed that contractors within PAP office were not delivering their jobs in accordance with their terms of contracts. These contractors want to be paid for laptops that were not supplied and others who supplied delivered counterfeit products.”
One of the ex-agitators, Magada Victor, a prominent member of the formerly dreaded camp five, owned by Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tomplo, gave an insight into the identities of persons waging war against Dikio.
“Tompolo was the last person to surrender to the amnesty programme in 2009. When we surrendered and disarmed, a list of those who surrendered were compiled and computed into the system. At the point where we surrendered, the place was crowded. People jumped in from the fence and used our names to thumbprint.
“We, the original beneficiaries, when we got to the point of biometrics, they told us we had already registered. People impersonated us and registered with our names. We were surprised and refused to go without being registered.”
Meanwhile, Col. Dikio (retd), has explained that training projects for ex-agitators have not taken off because he is not willing to continue with corrupt practices bugging the system.
Dikio, in a statement signed yesterday by his Special Assistant on Media, Nneotaobase Egbe, said he met an entrenched system of inducements, kickbacks and other illegal practices and was unwilling to continue with them.
He accused some officials in the amnesty office of derailing the mandate of PAP because of their selfish interests, noting that such persons were frustrating the projects and programmes of PAP using officialdom to seek kickbacks.
He said the corrupt officials had adopted various tactics to stall important projects in the reintegration process.
The amnesty boss said a major agricultural project designed to train and employ about 800 beneficiaries on crop and livestock farming, as well as other agro-based services had been stalled by the officials, who were demanding kickbacks.
He said such officials were also sitting on training programmes for 3,000 delegates in the maritime sector, adding that they were frustrating training projects for 520 delegates on fabrication, aviation and oil and gas.
Dikio said his vision remained to make the Niger Delta the best place to live and do business in Nigeria and to stop militancy in the region through the Niger Delta Stabilization Programme.
“I call on well-meaning citizens to note that insecurity in any part of Nigeria is insecurity everywhere. My team and I are committed to giving our best to make a positive difference.”