The office of the Presidential Amnesty Programme which was set up to implements the federal government’s DDR appears to be on the receiving side of the ‘rumble in the Delta’ it was supposed to calm .
The Incorporated Trustees and Executives of the Amnesty Vendors Association is calling for an investigation into the activities of the Amnesty Office owing to what the group described as “from an ugly trend of activities related to procurement being overtly and covertly muddled up against the time tested ethos of procurement”.
Speaking to the press in a Press Conference which held on the 2nd of December, 2019 at the Summerset Continental, Maitama, Abuja, the group called attention to the derailment of the presidential amnesty programme hence the need for urgent intervention.
Below is the full press statement:
TEXT OF PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE ASSOCIATION OF AMNESTY VENDORS HELD ON DECEMBER 2ND 2019 AT SUMMERSET CONTINENTAL, MAITAMA, ABUJA OVER THE DERAILMENT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL AMNESTY PROGRAMME AND THE NEED FOR URGENT INTERVENTION
Gentlemen of the Press,
We, the incorporated trustees and executives of the Amnesty Vendors Association wish to draw the attention of the nation and anti-graft agencies in particular on the need to thoroughly investigate all financial transactions undertaken by the Amnesty Office since January 2018 till date. We have written to relevant agencies and Mr President to intervene.
Our call has become necessary given the volatility of the region and the need to spread government presence amongst the states in the region and stem any relapse to the ugly past of militancy and economic sabotage.
Our fears as Niger Deltans and stakeholders of the region stems from an ugly trend of activities related to procurement being overtly and covertly muddled up against the time tested ethos of procurement which demands that all procurement activities should not be viewed with the eyes of impropriety and lack of transparency.
For instance, after the looting of starter pack items at the Kaiama Amnesty Vocational Centre on 13/2/2019 by persons suspected to be indigenes of the host communities to the centre, our independent investigation and interaction with community people shows that persons within the Amnesty Office encouraged them to invade the centre; our findings further reveals that the market value of the items looted did not exceed #1,000,000,000(#1billion) which is a far cry from the claims we hear from the Amnesty Office that items worth over #4,000,000,000(#4 billion) were lost to that ugly incident.
Our fears have been heightened by the inability of the six-man Special Investigative Panel headed by one Brig-General Sotunde Songonuga (retd) to make its report public since after its inauguration on the 3/3/2019.
We also recall that the initial six-man panel never had Mr Musa Odiniya (outgone Director Procurement in the Agency). But our curious investigations led us to understand that Mr Musa Odiniya arm-twisted the Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme, Prof Charles Dokubo to make him a member and we can confirm that after the inclusion of the former Procurement Director, everything about the investigation died a natural death. We dug deep to find out that the interest of Mr Musa Odiniya to be on that panel is not a mere coincidence as he has been using his relation as front to corner employments, laboir contracts/consultancies and major procurement jobs completely taking over the duties of the Reintegration Department of the Amnesty office and rendering it impotent. Reason being that the Amnesty Programme as it were, has successfully gone through two phases which is Disarmament and Rehabilitation; the 3rd and final stage, which is the Reintegration phase is designed to be supervised by the Reintegration Department.
Sadly, this department has been comatose as the former Procurement Director made sure all the needs assessments were handled by his office instead of the Reintegration Department! Of course, this was not conceived for patriotic reasons but to enable him engineer a groundswell of corrupt practices.
This obvious lacuna and pitfall has been allowed to thrive shamelessly under the watch of Prof Charles Dokubo whose signatures and consent have endorsed the illegalities in the past 1yr plus.
Interestingly, the Monitoring/Evaluation (M&E) department of the Agency which is part of the core mandate of the Amnesty Office, was scandalously outsourced to a private company owned by one of Prof Dokubo’s brothers!
This same monitoring exercise, we as stakeholders offered to be part of in order to keep track of jobs and ensure government gets its money’s worth. Till date, the Vendors Association is kept in the dark and we ask – “is the monitoring & evaluation being done spiritually? Because as far as we are concerned nothing is on ground to justify the millions of naira being paid monthly!!
This outsourcing contract has become a drain pipe on the Agency’s funds and is serving as conduit for the corrupt enrichment of Prof Dokubo as over #300million is paid out monthly from the Amnesty Office’s account at the detriment of the nation’s treasury. Besides, several items have been procured by the Amnesty Office without due process or proper needs assessment from the user departments, thus wasting scarce government resources. For instance, several of such items lie fallow and some are now in disuse at the BUZI extension. How can we also justify the wastage of #1.4billion on procurement of SUVs for Directors/Deputy Directors of the Amnesty office?
Another eye-popping discovery by our Association is the fact that a phoney security and cleaning contract running at the Lagos liaison office of the Amnesty Office awarded to one S&D Membs Security Services Ltd through which millions of taxpayers money is being siphoned.
These absurdities and incongruities has forced us to demand for the complete probe of the financial transactions of the Amnesty Office since 2018 because of the flagrant abuse of Procurement Act and the fact that majority of the acts of corruption in government agencies and parastatals brew from the procurement departments.
From available records, the Amnesty Office owes above #15billion on contractual obligations and we are aware Mr President has ordered these debts be cleared in order to save contractors the huge running indemnities from deposit money banks whose interest rates keep spiralling.
We demand for the immediate stoppage of all payments to contractors until an Audit is carried out to verify genuine contracts/contractors. Secondly, stoppage of all financial obligations from the Amnesty Office to its TSA account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, except to honour payment of monthly stipends to beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme and staff salaries.
Finally, we look forward to a dispassionate probe to unearth all the malfeasance that is currently ongoing at the PAP and save the Buhari administration from ridicule in the anti-corruption fight.
Pastor Dabby Sam
Governor Udom Emmanuel Loses Father
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel has lost his Father, the Late Elder Gabriel Emmanuel Nkanang.
The sad event occurred on Sunday, December 1st 2019. He was aged Ninety (90years.)
According to a family source, after due clearance from the Head of the Family, Pastor Edo Ekim ( the Father of the celebrity Nollywood actress, Ini Edo) , the first Son of the departed Patriarch, Mr. Gabriel Nkanang (Jr.) was authorized to make public the demise of the late Patriarch.
Burial arrangement according to family sources will be announced in due course.
Border Drill: Benin Republic unrepentant — FG
The Federal Government has accused the Republic of Benin of being recalcitrant in its importation of prohibited goods for ultimate dumping in to Nigeria’s market in spite the partial border closure order.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made the accusation when he featured on a “TV Continental”, live Programme, monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
“Regrettably, the signs out there are not positive in the sense that in the last few weeks, the amount of seizures that have been made do not show that our neighbours are in a hurry to comply with Nigeria.
“As we speak today, there are three ships heading toward Benin Republic laden with about 105,000 metric tons of rice.
“This is a country of about 12 million people. That rice is meant for ultimate consumption of Nigerians.
“In addition, Benin Republic just negotiated with Japan to receive rice worth 30 million dollars.
“It is clear that the ultimate destination of the rice will be Nigeria and that is why we are appealing to our neighbours.
“First preservation is the first law of survival, we are doing this to preserve our economy and the security of our country,” he said.
The minister who disclosed that the border drill will be in place as long as necessary, noted that Nigeria could no longer continue to play the big brother at the expense of its economy and national security.
“The facts at our disposal reveal that 10,000 vehicles are imported every month into the Cotonou seaport.
“For a population of about 12 million people to be importing 120,000 vehicles in a year means that the vehicles are going to Nigeria with sufficient market.
“As I have said, there is no gain without pain, there will be discomfort at the beginning ultimately we believe it is going to be to the ultimate interest of Nigeria,” he said.
The minister reiterated that both Benin Republic and Niger Republic were hurting Nigeria’s economy and security because of their non compliance with the ECOWAS Protocol on Transit Goods and State of Origin.
“We have been on this dialogue since 2015 and the truth of the matter is that there has never been any legitimate transit trade between us and the two countries
“This is hurting our economy, affecting our security and no country will fold its arms when the overall interest of its people is being jeopardise,” he said.
The minister said that government decided to prohibit sale of fuel in filling stations less than 20km away from the borders because of the high level of smuggling of the product to neighbouring countries.
He said no fewer than 160 filling stations were affected by the directive and they were in such a large number because they primarily engage in smuggling.
“These are stations that when you drive into them in the day time, they will not be dispensing fuel until late in the night when they will smuggle the product across the border,” he said.
Mohammed disclosed that a very sizable proportion of the subsidised imported petrol into the country was finding its way to Benin Republic, Niger Republic and some other West African countries.
“What we find out is that we are actually subsidising the product not just for Nigerians but for many West African countries.
“For instance, if the landing cost of pms is about N200 today, in order to cushion the effect on the people, government sells at N140 per liter.
“Meaning that for every liter of fuel bought, the government is paying N60. If you consume one million litres a day, the government is paying N60 million a day.
“You can imagine that from what the government pays, it is the neighboring countries that benefit about 50 per cent of it,” he said.
Mohammed said that it had been provenly established that 95 per cent of illicit drugs , arms and ammunition came into the country through the land borders with attendant effect on increase in terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and other crimes.
He said with the border drill directive, there had been drastic reduction smuggling of drugs and arms into the country, thereby reducing rate of crimes.
The minister said that government was aware of the effects of the border drill on the citizens, particularly the spike in the price of rice, but the people must bear the temporary pains to reap the benefits.
NAN reports that most of the viewers that called in to the programme supported the government on the partial border closure directive.
They contended that Nigeria had been reduced to a dumping ground for decades.
Some of them gave the examples of China that closed its borders for decades to achieve its vision of self reliance and becoming a nation to reckon with globally