N712billion wasted and unaccounted for by Niger Delta Amnesty Program
The National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno has raised an alarm of N712 billion being wasted and unaccounted for under the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme (NDAP).
The NSA made the disclosure when Milland Dikio, interim coordinator of the programme paid President Muhammadu Buhari a visit in Abuja on Friday October 9.
Commenting on the programme which was initiated during the administration late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to stop the violence in the Niger Delta region, Monguno said;
“The predatory instincts of certain individuals came into the fore and the programme was turned upside down and as a result of this, like the administrator has just said, there was a lot of corruption, waste, mismanagement within this period. N712 billion was wasted, basically unaccounted for, and this is due to so many issues — corruption being at the fore.
“Now, we realised that if the focus of the people who are supposed to drive this programme is to capsize the programme by allowing their own personal interest to come in, then we are all going to be in trouble because if the Niger Delta is in trouble, consequently, it will extend to the rest of the federation.
“Therefore, I had to take this step to advise Mr President that this waste cannot go on. This programme is not supposed to be an open-ended programme; there is no place on the surface of this earth where programmes that are supposed to be palliatory will continue forever, at the end of the day becoming a big problem and entanglement for the government.
“Therefore, we decided to take immediate action by bringing in someone who can take a deep look at these programmes, what resulted to it being flawed — a person with vast experience and we all know the experience of Colonel Dikio in this type of issue.”
Dikio also revealed that the NDAP owes contractors over N71 billion. He said;
“Immediately after the disarmament phase, challenges including endemic corruption cropped in and derailed the programme.
“Lack of enough funds and corruption were blamed for impeding the effective operationalisation of the programme.
“Regrettably, the programme has now been running for 11 years without the desired benefits delivered to the ex-agitators.
“Rather, the ex-agitator database was dishonestly corrupted, and several contracts were awarded in total disregard of need and procurement processes.
“Consequently, the programme is currently owing contractors the sum of N71,411,646,210.68. This informed Mr. President’s decision to overhaul the programme, aimed at ensuring that the dividends of the amnesty programme reaches its original target beneficiaries.
“Reports have shown that not much progress has been recorded in some aspects of the demobilisation and reintegration components of the programme. To address this, the need to focus on education and vocational training in ways that the benefits are channeled through a transparent, accountable, corrupt-free and institutionalised process is imperative.
“The programme as currently structured is not sustainable and cannot deliver the desired long-term benefit to the region and the country.
“Consistent with the strategic objectives of the federal government, the vision of the administrator is to refocus the amnesty programme to its original mandate of development and security of the Niger Delta region.”