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FG spends N260bn on 30,000 ex-militants

By The Citizen
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The Federal Government has spent at least N260bn on ex-Niger Delta militants between 2009 and 2013 through both the amnesty programme and oil pipeline protection deals, SUNDAY PUNCHinvestigations have shown.

About N248bn has been spent through the amnesty programme to pay monthly stipends to ex-militants and on their training, both in the country and abroad. An additional N12.6bn has also been spent on pipeline protection contracts.

While delivering a lecture at the Abia State Youth Empowerment Summit in Umuahia, in April 2013, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, had said the training of the ex-militants had gulped at least one billion dollars (about N160bn) since the inception of the amnesty programme.

The amount (N160bn) covered the N74bn that was spent on the amnesty programme in 2012, but did not include the N88bn that was budgeted for the programme in 2013.

Last week, the House of Representatives questioned the programme's budget of N63bn in the 2014 Appropriation Bill. They were outraged that it was higher than the budget for water, which was N37bn.

In 2011, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation reportedly signed contracts with ex-militant leaders to the tune of $39.5m (about N6.3bn) to protect oil pipelines.

According to reports, Mr. 'Tompolo' Ekpemupolo gets $22.9m (about N3.6bn) per annum; Mujahid Asari-Dokubo gets $9m (about N1.4bn) per annum, while 'General' Ebikabowei 'Boyloaf' Victor Ben and 'General Ateke Tom get $3.8m (about N608m) each to have their men guard the pipelines.'

The summation of these figures is $79m (about N12.6bn). The pipeline protection deals, were implemented alongside the amnesty programme aimed at maintaining peace in the Niger Delta.

In September last year, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Matters, Mr. Kingsely Kuku, said the amnesty programme would be terminated by the Federal Government in 2015.

Kuku said 16, 683 out of about 30, 000 ex-militants that were registered for the programme had been sent for training.

He also said the programme had a target of training 6000 ex-militants in 2014 and another 6,000 in 2015. Punch