“We have just discovered an article authored by Premium Times which, to us, was not well-intentioned and malicious against the leadership of the Presidential Amnesty Program, causing disaffection. The Presidential Amnesty Program is a well-intentioned special program that should not have been included with other government agencies. The inclusion of the Presidential Amnesty Program should have been avoided, especially considering the security breach caused by the publication of names of ex-agitator leaders. It is very unfair for Premium Times to engage in this type of reportage.
We view this reportage as maligning the present leadership for pecuniary political gains. Otherwise, why would the ex-agitators have been paid their stipends? The authors of this article should be reminded that the system of payment of stipends to ex-agitators has been the method adopted since the Presidential Amnesty Program was proclaimed in 2007 by Late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua.
While we acknowledge the importance of holding public office holders to account and conducting government business within existing rules and regulations, in-depth and painstaking research would have sufficed here to ascertain the modus operandi of certain agencies and understand why specific methodologies are approved and used to conduct the affairs of the Presidential Amnesty Program.
When a good cause is viewed with a jaundiced intention, it becomes suspect. Therefore, we call on those whose mission it is to derail the Presidential Amnesty Program to desist from this shenanigan and support the good cause pursued by the present leadership, who have brought countless innovative ideas in consonance with the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Tinubu.
This is the singular program that has brought peace to the Niger Delta region, leading to unhindered free flow of crude oil, which has continued to fuel the Nigerian economy, and declaring the Niger Delta region as the most peaceful region in the country as of today. This can be attributed to the dexterity of the present Interim Administrator. Therefore, any attempt to cause disaffection among the Nigerian people will be resisted.
It is still fresh in our memories the impact of the very destructive agitation that almost crippled the nation’s economy. Publishing legitimate earnings that were paid to ex-agitator leaders for onward disbursement to their foot soldiers, as it has been the practice since the inception of this program, as if it is an anomaly, is not only preposterous but disingenuous.
Our conclusion is that the exposé is done in bad faith. Therefore, we call on Premium Times to correct this erroneous impression they tried to create in the minds of the people against this very important government program.”
Joseph Ambakederimo, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Community Development Committees of Niger Delta Oil and Gas Producing Areas (CDC).