By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta/Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme said they have been informed of the allegations made against the office by a malicious gossip group – Niger Deltans for Accountability and Good Governance (NDAGG) on several platforms in their usual fictitious manner through false and malicious videos and publications printed for the purpose of defaming the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta/Coordinator Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd) and the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
The media office of Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd) in a statement on Monday said, “ordinarily the office would have ignored such falsehood and sponsored attempt at maligning the good reputations of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), the Special Adviser/Coordinator, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd) and the Chief Security Officer (CSO) of the Amnesty Office, Lt. Col. O.O. Okungbore, but given the fact that falsehood undisputed over time takes the toga of truth before gullible and unsuspecting people the Amnesty Office is however persuaded to set the record straight for the avoidance of doubt.”
The excerpt of state is here below:
It should be noted that the Presidential Amnesty Programme is a security Programme and the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) serves as a first point of clearance thus, as an office our continuous relationship is inevitable and must be kept sacred.
Furthermore, It is on record that as an office we have been very diligent in the discharge of our duties. Our students offshore and onshore, our vocational training delegates onshore are paid within the limits of the resources released to the office at intervals and it is with this resources that the Office under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), has also trained and set-up over 3,000 beneficiaries in their choice areas of business making them entrepreneurs across Niger Delta.
However, the malicious allegations by the NDAGG that over $200m has been embezzled from the Amnesty Office is not true and a very White lie, the CBN (TSA) system of payment will not even allow such amount of money through its platform and the monies are being expended for what it was appropriated for.
That, there has never been any time that the Amnesty Office issued any threats to any of her offshore or onshore education students through the CSO of the Amnesty Office as claimed in the video. It is on record that, the CSO of the Presidential Amnesty Office is a trained professional of the Nigerian Army with capacity in Human Development and Crisis Management.
However, without mincing words the five (5) persons paraded by the NDAGG in their malicious and blackmailing video are not beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme. They are hired by the NDAGG. There are no traces of their biometrics records in the Amnesty Office. And of course, our offshore delegates are properly screened intellectually and in character before deployment and could not indulge themselves in such inhuman and malicious blackmail against the office.
The legal rule has always been that he who alleges had the burden of proof. The NDAGG should clearly bring solid evidence of how the corrupt practices were perpetrated.
Our records clearly shows that given the level of cost especially given the exchange rate it was in the best interest of the office to stop further deployment of delegates to offshore institutions. We have decided to look inwards to focus on onshore institutions to add value to their capacity and capabilities. (It is this overriding need that has persuaded the office under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh to suspend further deployment of delegates to institutions abroad). It is therefore completely untrue for anyone to allege that selective students are being deployed.
As a public institution our records are open to all to scrutinize. A few students who were in the UK but had to return for obvious reasons bothering on tuition challenge and visa renewal were allowed to return while a few who had met the necessary requirements before the change of leadership had to leave for the UK. This was in tandem with the budgetary provisions at that time.
The office has a good working relationship with members of the National Assembly especially those from the committee on the Niger Delta. This relationship is purely formal with a view towards the smooth operations of the office in the discharge of its mandate.
This is not only necessary for a healthy executive and legislative interplay but to enable the legislators have a clear view of our activities and in discharge of their oversight functions which has taken them to witness graduation in the USA and the UK, an indication of the seamless relation between the National Assembly and the Presidential Amnesty Office.
Finally on the allegation that this office bribes National Assembly members is not only unsavoury but equally spurious. We challenge the authors of the allegation to provide credible evidence as this will show the seriousness of the group and their patriotic spirit towards eradicating such malaise. There is a professionally close nexus between the National Assembly and the Presidential Amnesty Office.
We look forward to serving our delegates and Nation better while open for genuine engagement to make our efforts better the lot of the people.