INDICATIONS emerged that pressure has continued to mount on the new Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, Maj. Gen. Barry Tariye Ndiomu (retd) to probe the alleged shoddy deals in the scholarships awarded by the immediate past administration.
Already, more stakeholders have called for the immediate setting up of a probe panel to investigate the 1,714 local and foreign scholarship slots.
Speaking with newsmen on the development, a former vice chairman Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Ogobiri Mein Clan, Comrade Ebi Olomu, described the alleged scholarship fraud as a sad commentary.
Comrade Olonu said, “Whereas the real ex-agitators are excluded from benefitting from the educational programme of PAP, non-Niger Deltans and cronies of some dubious official are the ones benefitting from our struggle.
“We want to thank the new Amnesty boss, Maj. Gen. Ndiomu (retd), for his achievements within his short period in office. We want him to know that the entire Ijaw Nation is with him on this issue and that he should go ahead with whatever way he wants to go about cleansing the system.
“It is no longer news that the immediate past administration of the Presidential Amnesty Programme is involved in an alleged local and foreign scholarship fraud, numbering 1,714 beneficiaries which excluded the real ex-agitators. This discovery is coming following the emergence of the new interim Administrator, Maj. Gen. Ndiomu”, the youth leader said.
On his part, an Ijaw traditional cleric, Apostle Bodmas Kemepadei, noted that the latest discovery of these local and foreign scholarships awarded to persons whose identities are yet to be confirmed as to whether they are real ex-militants or not was an exercise hurriedly put together the past administration before their exit.
According to him, “This is a confirmation of my earlier statement that the Presidential Amnesty Programme is a fraud. I want to use this medium to tell Maj. Gen. Ndiomu that the people of the Niger Delta are behind him, and that, as a matter of urgency, he should set up a probe panel to probe, investigate, arrest and prosecute those that are involved.
“It is very very sad, shortchanging the real beneficiaries of the programme for their girlfriends, friends, cronies and family members. Those involved should be brought to the book and sentenced to jail. Stakeholders, youths and women are calling on the new Interim Administrator to set up a probe panel to immediately investigate and weed out the bad eggs responsible for this despicable act aimed at discrediting the integrity of the programme.”
Apostle Kemepadei further said, “This discovery reveals that handlers of the past administration are involved in job racketeering and shortchanging of real beneficiaries for their cronies, girlfriends and allies”.
Madam Oyintari Jeremiah, a woman leader from the region also claimed that “Before Gen. Ndiomu’s assumption of office, some persons have turned this Presidential Amnesty Programme into their ‘cocoa farm’ to empower and sponsor their wives, brothers and other family members, but thank God for Gen. Ndiomu for fishing out those that were perpetrating that fraud, now the rightful people can benefit from the programme”