Abuja — The Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, has been described as a burden on the federal budget, has become highly expensive to maintain and an avenue for corrupt enrichment for a few individuals.
This is according to a report published Nextier Security, Peace and Development, SPD, tagged ‘Report on the Assessment of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.’
The report also advocated a transition strategy away from the PAP as it is currently constituted, to another form of mechanism that could foster peace and security, and also address the issue of underdevelopment in the Niger Delta, avoiding the challenges that had marred the programme over the years.
The report disclosed that the amnesty project had failed to achieve its purpose for establishment, which is the sustainable human and infrastructural development of the Niger Delta.
It added that since inception, the amnesty programme had been marred by corruption, lack of transparency and elite capture, and had continued to enrich a few individuals within the Niger Delta region and the country.
According to the report, the PAP is a five-year programme which ought to run from 2010 to 2015, stating that it is now in its 10th year and gradually becoming a bureaucratic institution rather than an intervention programme designed to solve a specific problem.
It said: “It has become more of a contract awarding government department, with 58 per cent of its monthly allocation going into the running of the office and contracts, while 42 per cent is for payment of training and school fees as well as the N65, 000 stipends.”
The report stated that the sacking of the incumbent PAP Coordinator, Professor Charles Dokubo, has thrown the region into an avoidable jostle for power.
The report added: “This power tussle often pitches some communities in the region against each other over who produces the next head of the agency and if it does not end well, the transition process could be adversely impacted.
“The transition process would provide the best opportunity for adopting a more sustainable leadership structure for the agency, if the transition is not well thought through, well-handed and widely accepted, it might result in the security situation in the region becoming worse than before the Amnesty was proclaimed.”
The report further estimated that the programme had gulped more than N500 billion, from 2009 till date.
It said, “From its inception to 2014, N234 billion was estimated to have been expended on the programme. With a boost to its yearly budget from N20 billion to N65 billion in 2017, its yearly budget increased by N30 billion.
“While the programme gifted the monthly stipends to lower cadre ex-militants, it provided multi-dollar pipeline security surveillance contracts to ex-militant generals and other forms of contracts to other elite members of the society. The programme has continued to enrich a selected few within the region and in the country while the majority of people from local oil communities are marginalized or excluded.”