Niger Delta ex-militants have reportedly stormed the main gate to the National Assembly in Abuja to protest against the non-payment of their allowances since the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Major-General Barry Ndiomu (ret’d.) was appointed into office.
The former Niger Delta militants hammered on issues that included that withholding of their agreed N65,000 monthly payment to the over 7,000 of them. They stated that such has been the case since the appointment of Ndiomu by President Muhammadu Buhari in September 2022.
The protesters claimed to be natives of Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Ondo and Edo states. They urged the Leadership of the National Assembly to pay heed to their displeasure over the non-payment and intervene on their behalf. Their written petition, signed by the Chairman Phase 2, Bayelsa State, Paul Johnson, and two others, was also sent to the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba.
Journalists also received a copy of the petition. Part of it reads:
“We abide by the law as citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, upon our disarmament and acceptance to embrace the Presidential Amnesty Program.
“Right from the inception of the programme, we are duty bound to play by the rule of the Presidential Amnesty Programme to be non-violent, and on the other hand emoluments, incentives and benefits were to be given to us, part of which includes training– both academic and non-academics – and the monthly N65,000.00 stipends.
“Sir, for the past six months, over 7,000 delegates have stopped receiving the N65,000. This is as a result of the appointment of Maj-Gen Barry Tariye Ndiomu (retd.) as the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. Right from his inception as the Interim Administrator, going over to six months now, many of our ex-agitators have suffered this insensitive behaviour from Ndiomu.”
Ndiomu had earlier in January disclosed that the Federal Government had suspended the scholarship program for former Niger Delta militants and ex-agitators. He had also said the program was suspended due to increase in tuition fees, which he claimed had reached over N7bn per session.
Additionally, Ndiomu stated that the over 350 Niger Delta natives with First Class and Second Class Honours (Upper Division) degrees, who have been offered direct employment in the federal civil service, had yet to be absorbed despite presidential directives. According to him, the government would discuss with the private universities for a percentage payment before exploring the possibility of re-awarding scholarships in a “rational” manner that would reasonably align with the budget set for the amnesty program.