The National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President, Babagana Monguno, has revealed that the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme’s fund totalling N712 billion released since its creation could not be accounted for.
Monguno disclosed this yesterday while speaking with State House correspondents, after he led the new Chairman of the Amnesty programme/Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Col. Milland Dikkio (rtd), on a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Monguno stated: “The predatory instincts of certain individuals came into the fore and the programme was turned upside down.” He said there was a lot of corruption, waste and mismanagement within this period, claiming that N712 billion was wasted and basically unaccounted for as a result of endemic corruption.
The NSA said the original intention of the programme was to address various issues bedevilling the people of the Niger Delta region.
He listed those issues to include ecological, security, among others.
He stressed that the principal idea for setting up this programme was actually to look at issues of development and security.
Monguno said: “When this programme was set up 11, 12 years ago, and I remember very clearly because I was the Chief of Defence Intelligence and we thought that sticking to the original timeline of three years for the programme was okay. That is, the agitators would have been fully compensated, trained, and would have acquired all the necessary skills and then become more productive to the people of that region.”
The NSA noted that unfortunately, so many things happened, and three years became 11 years and now going to 13, adding that this was because of the inexplicable changes that catapulted the whole programme into other issues that were originally not intended.
Monguno said, “Now, we realised that if the focus of the people, who are supposed to drive this programme, are to capsize the programme by allowing their own personal interest to come in, then, we are all going to be in trouble because the Niger Delta is in trouble and consequently it will extend to the rest of the federation.
“Therefore, I had to take this step to advise Mr. President that this waste cannot go on. This programme is not supposed to be an open-ended one. There is no place on the surface of this earth where programmes that are supposed to be palliatory will continue forever. At the end of the day it will become a big problem and entanglement for the government.”
The NSA stressed that it was because of this that Colonel Dikkio (rtd) was brought on board.
He stated: “Therefore, we decided to take immediate action by bringing in someone who can take a deep look at this programme and what resulted to flaws. A person with vast experience and we all know the experience of Col. Dikkio in this type of issue.
“Someone to clean out the stable and stabilise the region for the people of the Niger Delta and I must also add that he has been receiving a lot of cooperation and help from some ministries, like the Ministry of Transportation and that of Environment. Of course, as time goes on, other people will key in. So, basically the endemic corruption that scuttled this programme and frustrated the people of the Niger Delta is going to be addressed as soon as possible.
“Throughout his stay in the military, he (Dikkio) was involved in a lot of programmes like that. He has served in places like Sierra Leone, Liberia and Chad. The idea is to bring someone with strength of character and sense of purpose. He is someone who is able to deal with these issues in the short, medium and long term; someone who is not going to be pushed around; someone that will not succumb to socio-cultural political issues.”