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Presidency releases additional N35bn for amnesty programme

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Olalekan Adetayo

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 raised the funds to N55bn with a recent release of additional N30bn.

He disclosed that there was also a planned release of another N5bn later. According to him, the amnesty office has now paid up all ex-militants’ backlog of 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.

“The President had asked his 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 fees 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.

“There are also empowerment schemes and self-help, self-employment support funds, including provision of needed equipment by the amnesty office. Equally, the funds would also support the training of pilots, aviation engineers, technicians and motor vehicle mechanics from the oil-producing communities.”

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