Following a recent claim by the immediate past Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd) that 1652 beneficiaries were awarded scholarship, an insider source in the Presidential Amnesty Office has revealed that out of 1,717, slots less than10% of registered ex-agitators made the list.
The source who preferred to anonymous revealed that children and wards of political powerbrokers, and other classes of influential persons formed the bulk of those who enjoyed the privilege, adding that the criteria for selection and eventual award of scholarships did not follow any laid down procedure.
“A scholarship programme of this kind is designed and meant for the indigent ONLY. None of the 1,717 persons awarded scholarship and subsequently deployed to schools underwent any form of pre-deployment orientation of physical screening beyond the digital selection process conducted via the PAP web portal. Deployed persons were not made to sign a student sponsorship charter or code of conduct.
“The repercussion of this omission has resulted in the PAP having to deal with a plethora of cases of student indiscipline and character deficit. As a result of the oversubscribed scholarship program, the debt liability required to offset all expenses associated with the more than 3,000 sponsored persons in schools (onshore and offshore) for just October-December 2022 is N5,502633,219.21
“The Presidential Amnesty Programme as an interventionist vehicle was designed to cater to a specific number of registered and duly documented beneficiaries i.e., ex-agitators.
According to our source, “After studying the various reports submitted by core departments and units, the following is worthy to note: A debt liability of 49,995,480,634.49, representing monies for work done was outstanding. This quoted figure is the debt for the Reintegration Department Only.
The Reintegration department of the PAP is the core driver of the PAP operations and directly oversees all matters associated with the management of Programme beneficiaries. The monthly subvention to the PAP stands at N5.4B.
“Therefore, on asumption of office the current Interim Administrator, was to expect monthly allocations of 4 months to draw from i.e., September to December 2022 totaling N21.6B. The Formal Education segment had been over-subscribed in terms of award of scholarships without due recourse to budgetary provisions.
“Between January 2022-August 2022 a total number of 1,662 persons were deployed to universities onshore (Mostly privately owned institutions) this was for the 2021/2022 academic year. Also, between August 2021 and August 2022, fifty-three (53) persons were awarded foreign scholarships.
“The Train, Employ & Mentor (TEM) scheme may have been a smart model on paper however, it did not consider realities on ground. The tuition fee component of the various contracts awarded under the TEM scheme were evidently overpriced and didn’t emanate from any standard benchmarking markers or yardstick.
“This realization is what necessitated the Interim Administrator’s decision direct the renegotiation of all the TEM contracts which was a very successful exercise that saw the PAP save approximately 1.3 billion naira.
“The ‘Employ’ component of the TEM model was faulty because a key feature of the ‘Employment’ offer was tied to a specific period i.e., 30 months and only available to 50% of the total number of delegates trained. What was to become of the balance who would not have been employed?
“Furthermore, the devasting effects of the flooding that ravaged some core states of the Niger Delta between September and October 2022, saw the destruction of farmlands and factory machineries. The career aspirations of most of the 1053 delegates under the TEM program tilted more towards training & empowerment.
“The assertion by the immediate past Interim Administrator that the erstwhile empowerment model that preceded the TEM scheme was ‘vendor driven’ and provided more benefits to the contractors than the beneficiaries may be said to be correct, however, the subsequent rejigged model which saw the emergence of the Train, Employ & Mentor (TEM) scheme which he Col Dikio introduced also emphasized more value for the contractors than the beneficiaries.
“This is clear via the contract pricing and work execution terms. The truth is, any model can work as long as its implementation process is governed by integrity.
“On the supposed 7.5 billion Naira ‘Special supplementary fund to engage and train identified participants who had been involved in illegal refining’, it is worthy to note that the supposed fund is yet to be recorded as a received inflow into the PAP financial accounts i.e. it never came.
“The data management system the current Interim Administrator inherited was fraught with all kinds of manipulations and distortions. Persons other than genuine ex-agitators are listed as beneficiaries under a supposed ‘impacted communities’ rationale that was never properly articulated nor documented. The above stated points are verifiable and can be fact-checked for further analysis too”, the source maintained.