Ex-agitators under the auspices of ‘Coalition of Niger Delta Ex-agitators’ has issued two-week pre-action notice to the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, National Security Adviser to the President, Babagana Monguno, and the lnterim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Gen. Barry Ndiomu (rtd), to urgently pay all shortchanged and suspended PAP beneficiaries with BVN challenges or face court action.
In a notice released through a legal firm, the over 2,000 ex-agitators had threatened legal action if the Attorney General of the Federation, National Security Adviser to the President and the Presidential Amnesty lnterim administrator, Barry Ndiomu, fail to commence payment of the suspended accounts at the expiration of the two weeks pre-action notice.
It is though alleged that some affected camps had been paid thier outstanding stipends this week, the protesters said only camp leaders were paid and others who were soldiers in the affected camps had not been paid.
The pre-action notice reads, ” Our law firm has been reliably briefed about the arbitrary manner in which accounts were stopped without the Presidential Amnesty Programme actually appreciating the traditional modus operandi of camp management that has brokered peace in the Niger Delta since 2010.
“Without over-flogging an issue that has been the tradition of the programme, it is an established fact that it was not every ex-agitator that was disarmed that are captured in the PAP. The various camp leaders have managed this issue of spill-over ex-agitators by allowing the leaders to open special accounts wherein payments into these accounts were used for sorting out other members of the camp that could not be captured in the database.”
The notice further reads, “Sir, this is actually a conflict-management strategy and not fraud. It has established peace in the Niger Delta and part of the successes recorded by erstwhile administrations are attributed to this robust peace-building methodology applied in the past.
“Your Excellency sir, it is an undisputed fact that every administration has its own policies and medium of administering the programme but we are of the view that if a particular method has worked, other succeeding Administrators must key into it because the ultimate aim of change is sustaining the peace in the region. A single wrong decision has the ability to erode all the gains that must have been recorded since the inception of your visionary administration.
It stressed, “Our clients have written several letters to the National Security Adviser, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Attorney General of the Federation, Inspector General of the Federation, Director State Security Services, National Assembly and myriad interventionist organizations all fallings on deaf ears. Recently, our clients also wrote an appeal to the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in a letter tagged: Call for urgent Intervention to avert the Looming Fresh Hostility In the Niger Delta Region.’ The said letter is attached for ease of reference.
“We concur with the views expressed by our clients in the aforementioned letters as there is always an alternative to everything in life. Some of the camp leaders have been paid in this manner for over ten years since the inception of the programme and some less than ten years. The various leaders have managed the funds effectively for sorting out active members of the camp that were not captured in the database.
“There may be few skirmishes but these have never at any time led to the break-down of law and order. The PAP cannot suddenly turn round and claim it made mistakes all these years. A lot of legal issues will automatically crop up from such purported colossal executive mistake.
“Apart from that, the insincerity of the PAP is equally manifested in the double-standard adopted by the office in making bulk payment to some camp leaders who are ‘sacred cows’ and maintaining a policy of administrative righteousness by preaching against bulk payment to camps that are adjudged as minnows.
“The PAP should be able to explain in court the reason for this disparity. This discriminatory policy need be challenged in court as it flies in the face of the 1999 Constitution (as amended. We are of the view that what Amnesty Programme cannot garner the political will to rectify, the courts should be able to scrutinize with all modicum of fairness and justice.
The legal firm writes, “While this serves as a TWO-WEEK pre-action notice, our clients are still open to negotiation. We still equally suggest that the PAP reconvenes the aggrieved camp leaders and agree on a workable modality for solving this brewing problem without any of the parties being shortchanged. A proper and legal mechanism can be worked out so that camp leaders are allowed to replace all these uncaptured ex-agitators with the multiple linked BVN accounts that were stopped. If this is not done, there is every possibility that the said slots end up in the hands of strangers to the amnesty deal as it happened in the past.
“We pray that history does not repeat itself. We suggest the Interim Administrator does this quickly so that this regime will not go down on historical lanes as the administration with the highest court cases in a very short span of time and a policy that was initiated with good intentions finally turns out to be counter-productive tagging the PAP incapable of managing internal conflicts,” the letter stated.
Since the suspension of accounts of some beneficiaries believed to be part of reforms of the amnesty programme, affected camp leaders have made several pleas for replacement of such accounts instead of throwing people’s hard-earned opportunities into the dustbin.
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