The House of Representatives has asked the Presidential Amnesty Committee to pay former Niger Delta militants on Federal Government scholarships their allowances. While expressing their displeasure with non-payment of the ex-militants, the lawmakers called on the presidential committee to clear the alleged 12-month arrears without further delay. The resolution followed the unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Mr Kolade Akinjo, titled, “Call for payment of the 2017/2018 academic year amnesty beneficiaries’ stipends and allowances.” Moving the motion, Akinjo recalled that the Federal Government, under the administration of the late President Umaru Yar‘Adua, on June 25, 2009, introduced a presidential amnesty programme as a platform to pardon former Niger Delta agitators, who surrendered their arms and ammunition. He further recalled that after the disarmament and demobilisation programmes, the Federal Government instituted rehabilitation and reintegration programmes which included the training and education of the concerned ex-agitators.
He stressed that through the amnesty programme, many ex-agitators were enlisted for a scholarship programme to study different courses in various Nigerian universities, with approved payment of monthly stipend of N70 000 for upkeep and N20,000 book allowance. Akinjo further said, “The Presidential Amnesty Committee, in compliance with an earlier motion and resolutions of this House, deployed qualified and successful candidates to Nigerian universities for the 2017/2018 academic session. Some of the beneficiaries deployed for the 2017/2018 academic session have been paid while others are unjustifiably denied payment of their monthly stipends and allowances running into about 12) months. “The affected beneficiaries of the amnesty scholarship recently mobilised themselves for massive protests in Abuja and Niger Delta region because of the untold hardship, excruciating hunger, lack of academic concentration and general mental torture caused by the non-payment of their monthly stipends and allowances.”