TENSION IN N’DELTA OVER STRANDED AMNESTY STUDENTS

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There is tension in Niger Delta over the plight of students undergoing various academic and vocational training abroad under the Presidential Amnesty Programme of the Federal Government.
It was learnt that the students, who are undergoing higher education in Europe, America, Asia and African countries, were stranded due to the inability of the government to pay their tuition and other fees.
Youths in the region, including family members of the stranded students, were said to be threatening to begin attacks on oil facilities to compel the government to work out measures of settling its financial obligations to the students.
Following threats to peace in the region, notable ex-militant leaders and former commanders of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, on Thursday, sent a Save-Our-Soul (appeal) letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The ex-militant leaders, under the auspices of Leadership Peace and Cultural Development Initiative, urged the President to urgently address issues within the Presidential Amnesty Office.
The ex-creek warlords in the letter, signed by their President, Pastor Reuben Wilson, reminded the President that the amnesty, which was proclaimed by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, was the reason behind the increase in crude oil production.
Wilson said, “Thus, with the acceptance and commencement of the programme, our production of oil drastically increased from a paltry 900,000 barrel a day to over 2,000,000 barrels a day while issues of kidnapping and pipeline destruction became minimal.
“This upsurge brought about increase in our national income. We have, however, acknowledged that with the exit of former President Goodluck Jonathan, the tenure of the former Chairman of PAP came to an end.
“Following late release of funds, the former amnesty boss was unable to pay beneficiaries of the programme their allowances and tuition fees. As a result, the students and delegates are owed for three months.
“We are mindful of the fact that in a transition such as this one, formation of government in some cases takes time hence the constraints are highly appreciated.
“However, given the nature of this programme and particularly our recent past, one would have expected that an interim measur, such as was done in the INEC office, would have been instituted to keep the programmes running until such a time Mr. President will find a suitable and qualified person to head the office. “
-Punch

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