According to the source, the exercise was necessitated by the discovery of obvious irregularities on the payment voucher, where some beneficiaries who have been trained and empowered were still receiving their monthly stipend with others who are currently undergoing in-training still found their names on the regular payment voucher.
The source revealed that the irregularities on the payment list were recently uncovered by an internal audit that was instituted by the new Interim Administrator with a view to cleaning up the data base of the programme.
Adding that those affected by the delisting exercise include, trained and empowered beneficiaries whose names are still on the voucher, those who receive both the in-training allowance of seventy thousand naira (#70,000) along side the regular sixty five thousand naira (65,000) monthly stipends.
Also affected, are beneficiaries with have multiple entries on the payment voucher and beneficiaries who have already graduated from higher institutions of learning in formal education.
According to the insider source, it was only 2,954 beneficiaries that were recently delisted from payment voucher and not 3,548 beneficiaries is being speculated in the the media, describing the report as sensational and misleading, stressing that such duplications, among other irregularities on the payment voucher would no longer be tolerated when government is thinking of reworking the programme to make more beneficial to the people of Niger Delta region.
The insider source further explained that since the Presidential Amnesty Programme commenced twelve years ago, this is the first time that nine point eight percent (9.8% of the 30,000 delegates is being delisted.
It will be recalled that the new Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Maj. Gen. Barry Tariye Ndiomu had indicated his desire to collaborate with the Nigerian Army to further train ex-agitators in their training institutions with a view to building the capacities of the ex-agitators after they eventually exit the programme.
Gen. Ndiomu gave the hint when he visited the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya, in his office at the Army Headquarters, Abuja recently, adding that: “The Nigerian Army has quite a number of training institutions that may be necessary to the capacity building processes of the Presidential Amnesty Programme and we could collaborate with them”.
“For instance, we have the Nigerian Army School of Military Engineering in Makurdi, Benue State and the Nigerian Army School of Electrical & Mechanical Engineering in Auchi, Edo State. They run all kinds of courses that we think some of these ex-agitators may benefit from, that can lead to their gainful employment or some other roles in terms of entrepreneurship, when they exit the programme eventually.
“The Nigerian Army has a lot of facilities and a lot of training programmes that will be of benefit to the ex-agitators.
So, those areas of cooperation that we have identified, we can follow through for the training of these ex-agitators, so that we can get them prepared and make them more useful to the society”, the Interim Administrator said.