Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, on Monday reiterated the commitment of the PAP Office to provide quality empowerment packages for beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. This, he says will reduce the ex-agitators’ dependence on the monthly
N65,000 stipends and give them a decent and more sustainable means of livelihood.
This statement has become necessary due to the recent calls for the payment of non-statutory allowances such as the Transitional Safety Allowance (TSA).
A statement from the office of the Interim Administrator, signed by his SA Media, Nneotaobase Egbe explains that the TSA is not statutorily provided for and therefore, not captured in the budget provided by the Presidency.
The Transitional Safety Allowance was a direct payment made by the then Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Hon. Kingsley Kuku, who got the approval from the Federal Executive Council to pay ex-agitators who had been disarmed, and on their way out of the disarmament centres.
This payment was made for the purpose of transportation, accommodation and to cushion the social effects at that time for the ex-agitators transitioning from the creeks to residences within and outside their respective communities.
This TSA payment was a one -off to all ex-agitators documented in batches in 2010, 2013 and 2014 and was not captured or documented as a recurrent annual payment.
The Interim Administrator has frowned at the incessant agitations to resume the TSA payment and is appealing to those agitating for these payments to instead refocus their energies to forming cooperatives for entrepreneurial purposes which he is willing to support.
It will be recalled that the Presidential Amnesty Programme was created to stabilize, consolidate and sustain security as well as fast-track development in the Niger Delta region through effective implementation of the total Amnesty Package, which includes reintegrating the ex-agitators back into the society by providing quality training and empowerment to help them become net contributors to the economic prosperity of the Niger Delta region and Nigeria as a whole.
Col. Dikio (rtd) has assured delegates that the Presidential Amnesty Programme is focused on actualizing its original mandate by directing available resources to achieve optimum results.