Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Brig-Gen. Paul Borah (rtd.), on Tuesday in Abuja decried that the N20 billion proposed Budget for the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) in the 2016 Appropriation Bill is grossly inadequate.
Borah made this known while presenting the 2016 Budget of Presidential Amnesty Programme before the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs.
Borah, who is also Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, said N64 billion was originally proposed for the programme for 2016 fiscal year, but was reduced to N20 billion, leaving a shortfall of N44 billion.
He further expressed concern that 30, 000 ex-Niger Delta militants currently undergoing training overseas would be adversely affected should the proposed amount be approved by the National Assembly.
“I urge you most sincerely to consider an upward review from the proposed N20 billion to N64.8 billion for the sustenance and re-integration of ex-agitators in the Presidential Amnesty Programme for the 2016 fiscal year.
”The proposed N7.8 billion for stipends and allowances from the Budget proposal can only accommodate 9,868 ex-agitators for the 2016 fiscal year, excluding 15,132 ex-agitators,” he said.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Peter Nwaboshi, said that the Committee would scrutinise the proposal presented, with a view to addressing the issues raised by Borah.
He, however, said that the Committee would vet the list of 30,000 ex-agitators submitted to it to ensure that they were genuine.
He also asked the Presidential Adviser to immediately disengage the 247 consultants, who had been working for the Amnesty Programme as agreed by the Committee.
He said the directed became necessary in view of the fact that the economic reality in the country could not support the engagement of such number of consultants.