From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col Milland Dixon Dikio (retd), has told the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions that he lacks the mandate to include new beneficiaries into the amnesty scheme.
A statement issued on Wednesday by Dikio’s Special Adviser on Media, Neotaobase Egbe, said the amnesty boss spoke when he appeared before the committee in Abuja to defend a petition against the PAP by a former agitator, High Chief Sobomabo Jackrich, popularly known as Egberipapa.
Dokio clarified that only President Muhammadu Buhari has the exclusive power to admit new people into the programme.
Jackrich in his petition, complained that his men were excluded from the scheme despite surrendering their arms in line with the conditions contained in the amnesty proclamation made by late President Umaru Yar’Adua.
Dikio, who honoured the invitation of the committee chaired by Senator Ayo Akinyelure, said although he was aware of the matter when he took over the leadership of the PAP, such a function was beyond his mandate.
‘I lack the power to admit anyone to the scheme because such power can only be exercised by the President. As a man under authority, my mandate as Interim Administrator of the PAP is to cater for 30,000 ex-agitators, who had been duly registered and captured as beneficiaries of the scheme,’ he explained.
Speaking after the panel sitting, Dikio dismissed the rumoured plans to enlist more beneficiaries to the scheme and warned persons behind it to desist from spreading falsehood.
He stressed that the programme was focused on 30,000 beneficiaries who were yet to be trained by the PAP and warned people against the antics of scammers.
‘Our focus and priority at the moment as far as the amnesty programme is concerned is to make sure that the 30,000 beneficiaries under our watch are well trained and empowered to become employers of labour and net contributors to the economic prosperity of the Niger Delta.
‘That’s why it is important to warn youths in the region to totally discountenance any rumour asking or requesting them to fill forms to be enlisted as new beneficiaries of the amnesty programme. It’s a scam pure and simple. They shouldn’t fall for it.’