President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has released additional N35billion to Amnesty Programme’s budget lifting it from initial N20billion to now N55billion.
The Federal Government said the move was in sustenance of the new understanding between it and the oil-producing communities of the Niger Delta.
N20billion allocation was what was approved for the Amnesty Programme in 2016, before President Buhari now raised the funds to N55billion with a recent release of additional N30billion and a plan to release another N5billion later.
This was made known in a statement released by the office of the vice president, through the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande.
The statement further revealed that the Amnesty Office has now paid up all ex-militants’ backlog of stipends owed up to the end of 2016.
Part of the statement read, “The release of the additional funds is coming after presidential level interactive engagements in the Niger Delta, where the Buhari administration has enunciated a New Vision for the oil-producing areas based on the presentation made by the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, to the President when he received leaders and stakeholders from the region last November.
“Subsequently, the President asked his deputy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, to embark on a tour of the region that saw him visiting several oil-producing States in the country.
“Besides the monthly payment of about N65, 000 to N66,000 to the ex-militants, the funds would also go to the provision of reintegration activities under the Amnesty Programme including payment of tuition fees for beneficiaries from Niger Delta who are in post-secondary institutions at home and abroad, payment of in-training & hazard allowances and vocational training costs”.
The statement further said that Niger Delta communities have been reassured of the present government’s unalloyed commitment to a faithful implementation of its promises made during its interactive engagement visits by the vice president to the different oil-producing communities.