17 June 2016-Joint Committee on Niger Delta and Public Procurement on Thursday disclosed that the N20 billion approved by the Federal Government for the Presidential Amnesty in the 2016 budget was grossly inadequate and urged the Federal Government to release N55.8 billion requested by the Amnesty office for the payment of stipend of 30,000 ex-militants.
Essien Ekpenyong, chairman, House Committee on Niger Delta, gave the charge during the investigative hearing on the motion requesting the Executive to urgently release the balance of N33.8 billion to Amnesty office in the bid to quell the lingering crisis in the oil-producing region.
He said that the unabated bombing and vandalism of petroleum pipelines and facilities by the agitators, if not addressed urgently might result into total collapse of the nation’s economy.
“In recent times, there has been a resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta region which is taking a different dimension -blowing up of pipelines and oil installation in order to cripple the economy of the nation.
“No reasonable and patriotic Nigerian is happy about this development. Thank God the Executive is trying its best to dialogue with the Niger Delta Avengers but our fear is that the ex-agitators on the Amnesty program who are being owed their stipends, in-training allowances, tuition fees and other commitments, out of frustration, may join forces with the so-called Avengers and wreak more havoc on oil installation and pipelines,” he warned.
Meanwhile, the lawmakers during the public hearing which was attended by Minister of Niger Delta, threatened to arrest Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance; Udo Udoma, Budget and Planning; Ibe Kachukwu, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources; Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor; Director General of Budget office of the Federation; Accountant General of the Federation and Presidential Adviser to the President on Amnesty Programme if they fail to appear before the Committee by next Tuesday.