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Presidency releases additional N35bn for amnesty programme

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Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The Presidency has released additional N35bn to step up  the Amnesty Programme for ex-militants in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

The additional fund is said to be in sustenance of the new understanding between the Federal Government and the oil-producing communities of the Niger Delta.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists on Saturday.

Akande said although the Federal Government had approved a N20bn allocation for the programme in the 2016 budget, President Muhammadu Buhari has now raised the funds to N55bn with a recent release of additional N30bn.

He disclosed that there is also a planned release of another N5bn later.

According to him, the Amnesty Office has now paid up all ex-militants backlog of their stipends up to the end of 2016.

Akande explained further, “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 to the President when he received leaders and stakeholders from the region last November.

“Subsequently, the President asked his deputy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, 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 for beneficiaries from Niger Delta who are in post-secondary institutions at home and abroad, payment of in-training and hazard allowances and vocational training costs.

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