By Abujah Racheal
The Office of Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), says its mandate only covers re-integration of the duly registered ex-agitators in the Niger Delta region.
The PAP’s Head of Media, Mr Owei Lakemfa, made the clarification in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
He said the clarification became necessary following deluge of applications from the Niger Delta youths that are not beneficiaries of the presidential amnesty of 2009.
According to him, the PAP is meant to ensure proper integration of the ex-agitators into the mainstream of the society on the basis of the budgetary allocations received year in, year out.
“The appropriation for the Amnesty Office is to pay monthly stipends, fund the tertiary education of those on the Amnesty scholarship in tertiary institutions and those undergoing professional and vocational training and run a lean administration,” he stressed.
“Some applied to PAP for scholarship scheme to fulfil their dream of getting tertiary education, even abroad, if it can be met.
“There are also those who demand of it infrastructural development including the provision of roads, bridges, schools, health centres, hospitals, pipe borne water and decent housing.
He said that the PAP did not receive allocations to provide mass employment, scholarship and housing for all the youths in the region, adding that other agencies had been charged with such responsibilities.
On delay in paying stipends, school fees and in-training-allowances to PAP beneficiaries, Lakemfa attributed to the delay in the passage of the 2017 budget by the National Assembly.
“The 2017 budget being passed about mid-year, it means that there are bound to be payment delays.
“However, to lessen the burden of beneficiaries, the office had approached the Federal Government for loans which had been used to offset some payments.
“Happily, with the signing of the national budget, payment of stipends have resumed as well as payment of fees to Amnesty students in the country and abroad,” he said.
He commended the understanding and patience of the beneficiaries in particular and the people of the Niger Delta in general as peace has returned to the region.