The Niger Delta Amnesty program was set up to curb militant unrest in Nigeria’s volatile oil-producing states. The ex-agitators laid down their weapons and under the program, were trained in vocational skills, mostly outside the nation’s shores and then placed on an allowance of N65,000 pending when they found gainful employment.
Ex-agitators who are yet to find employment in Nigeria’s harsh economy have however been protesting non-payment of allowances, some since January of 2012. The ex-agitators explained that even though their accounts have been opened, their funds were being diverted in an Amnesty office level fraud to other bank accounts.
When they complained to officials and the bank, they were advised to see their camp commanders who were party to the fraud.
Their camp commanders told them that they must sign-off to forfeit N30,000 of their allowance if they wanted the allowance payments to their actual bank accounts restored. The bank accounts used by the ex-agitators were opened by the Nigerian government and as such it is impossible for other accounts to receive the funds by any third party without the knowledge of the Amnesty office in Abuja.
Several youths claim they have carried out protests to register discontentment over the non payment of their allowances, and embarked on demonstrations to Abuja; however in the last protest in 2013, when they got to Okene in Kogi state, they were cajoled to return home by the administrators and security officials who assured them that Mr. Kingsley Kuku was going to resolve the problem.
However, up till the time of filing this report, there has been no redress from the Amnesty office and the payments of hundreds of ex-agitators is allegedly still being diverted into unknown bank accounts.
All efforts to speak with an Amnesty official proved abortive.