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Presidential Amnesty Programme is derailing, Anti-Graft Agencies Should Investigate Activities-Vendors

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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.

OUR DEMANDS:

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.

Signed:

Pastor Dabby Sam

Spokesperson

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IGP Deploys more detectives to Edo State, vows to fish out killers of Miss Vera Uwaila

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The Inspector General of Police, MOHAMMED Adamu, has announced further steps taken by the Police High Command to unravel and bring to book all those involved in the brutal murder of a 100-level student of the Department of Microbiology in UNIBEN was reported to have been raped and killed by some hoodlums inside a church where she went to read at the Ikpoba Hill area of Benin City, the Edo State Capital.

The statement signed by Force Public Relations Officer, DCP FRANK MBA said : “As part of deliberate and concerted efforts by the Nigeria Police High Command to unravel the circumstances surrounding the brutal attack and unfortunate death of Miss Vera Uwaila Omosuwa in Benin, Edo State on 28th and 30th May, 2020 respectively, the Inspector General of Police has deployed additional investigations aids and forensic support to Edo State Police Command to complement and expedite actions in the ongoing investigations into the unfortunate incident.”

“The IGP, while condemning the attack, commiserates with the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased. He calls for calm and assures that the Force will surely bring the perpetrators of the callous act to book in the shortest possible time.

Meanwhile, protesters including students of UNIBEN, activists and concerned individuals on Monday stormed the headquarters of the state police command in Edo State demanding justice for Vera Uwaila Omozuwa.


The protesters wearing black outfits and bearing placards decrying rape staged a walk from the Kings Square area of Benin City and eventually took their message to the state police command headquarters.

The deputy commissioner of police, operations, Ayoola Ajala who received the protesters, assured that investigations have commenced and arrests have made in connection to Uwa’s murder.

He also debunked allegations that the police station where the matter was reported to refused to look into the incident for lack of funding.

Meanwhile, Uwa’s siblings who were also part of the protest demanded that justice be served promptly.

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Facebook Pledges $10 Million To Racial Justice Campaigns

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Facebook has committed $10 million to anti-racism groups, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Monday, as protests continue nationwide and companies speak out on racism following the death of George Floyd in police custody last week.

Zuckerberg announced the money would go towards supporting the work of “groups working on racial justice.”

He wrote in a Facebook post on Monday: “The pain of the last week reminds us how far our country has to go to give every person the freedom to live with dignity and peace.

He added: “It reminds us yet again that the violence Black people in America live with today is part of a long history of racism and injustice. We all have the responsibility to create change.”

Like a number of corporations that have released statements in recent days, Zuckerberg said that Facebook stands with the black community “and all those working towards justice in honor of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and far too many others whose names will not be forgotten.”

The 36-year-old added that the Chan Zuckerberg initiative he founded with his wife, Priscilla Chan, invests around $40 million annually in organizations “working to overcome racial injustice.”

Zuckerberg’s post comes as a number of senior Facebook employees blasted the CEO’s “do nothing” approach to President Trump’s post threatening violence against George Floyd protesters that read “when the looting starts, shooting starts.”

Design manager Jason Stirman tweeted on Monday: “I’m a FB employee that completely disagrees with Mark’s decision to do nothing about Trump’s recent posts, which clearly incite violence. I’m not alone inside of FB. There isn’t a neutral position on racism.”

According to Axios, Zuckerberg expressed concerns over Trump’s “tone and rhetoric” in a phone call with Trump on Friday.

Companies including Netflix, Twitter, Glossier, Nike and Peloton have lined up in recent days to condemn the death of George Floyd, voice their support for the black community and commit to support anti-racism efforts.

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