The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) and ex-militant leaders have cautioned the Senate Public Accounts Committee following its threats to issue a bench warrant on officials of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), including the PAP’s Interim Administrator, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd).
The Chairman of IYC, Abuja branch, Adam Marbo, said the council was surprised at the committee’s claim that the warrant was to compel Dikio to appear before it to explain an alleged N10billion unaccounted for by the amnesty office contained in Auditor-General’s report of 2018.
Marbo said the council was further amazed that the report referred to by the committee was based on transactions that occurred in 2015 fiscal year.
The IYC boss described the posture of the Senate committee as witch-hunt, explaining that the transaction and the audit report happened years before Dikio was appointed as the interim administrator of the programme.
He said: “We can recall that Dikio was appointed towards the end of 2020. What the Senate is investigating is a transaction that occurred in the amnesty office in 2015 but was mentioned in the Auditor-General’s report of 2018.
“The matter does not concern Dikio at all. Why will the Senate Committee become so fixated on Dikio that it descended to the arena of desperation with the threat of a bench warrant? What are they looking for? The committee cannot feign ignorance of persons at the helm of affairs in amnesty office when the transaction took place”.
Marbo urged the committee to stop distracting Dikio and allow him concentrate and deliver his vision for PAP, insisting that the current amnesty boss should only be held accountable for his actions and inactions during his tenure.
He said: “The entire stakeholders in the Niger Delta are passionate about Dikio because of the difference he has made since he assumed office as the interim administrator of PAP. We like his style because it has deepened discussions and restored peace in the Niger Delta.
“Dikio has reformed the amnesty programme, and we won’t allow any baseless attack on him. The Senate committee should judge Dikio by his deeds in the amnesty office and not by the actions and misdeeds of others before him. We perceive any attempt to do otherwise as a deliberate attempt to distract the amnesty boss and destabilise the Niger Delta”.
Ex-militant leaders in a separate statement signed by Chairman, First Phase Ex-Agitators, Henry Binidodogha aka Egbema One; and Chief Andabafa Namah aka Opunamah, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to hold the Senate responsible should there be renewed hostilities in the Niger Delta.
They said the lawmakers were on a mission to disrupt the existing peace in the region with their scripted plans to destabilise the good works of Dikio.
The former warlords said the committee was on a mission to embarrass Dikio and make a mess of all that he had achieved within a short period of time since he took over.
They also said the issue listed in the probe predated the tenure of Dikio, and wondered why the Senate Public Accounts Committee would be disturbing him about it.
They said: “Our attention has been drawn to a report in the media by the Senate, inviting our boss, Colonel Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd) to appear before them, else they would arrest him. We want to say that this move is capable of causing a breakdown of law and order in the Niger Delta region.
“Before we go further, let me reiterate here that we have never seen anyone manage this amnesty programme since its inception as Dikio has done. And so, we see the invitation of the Senate as a witch-hunt because the matter happened in 2018, and as then, Dikio was not in- charge of the programme.
“Even with the malfeasance he met, he has not blamed anybody or accuse anyone but has been working seriously, transforming the programme and affecting positively lives of the people, particularly the PAP beneficiaries. His achievements are visible for all to see.
“For the records, this is the first time ex-agitators are going for training with the assurance of being engaged immediately after the training under the Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) scheme. It has never happened before.
“This is also the first time we have experienced a non-violent approach to issues. No more protests and counter protests as it used to be. This is also the first time that the monthly stipends are paid as at when due.
“We do not want to believe that the Senate committee is trying to subdue our leader and brother who have come to change the narrative and perception of the PAP. Let us put them on notice that we will resist it with all our strength and might. As delegates and critical stakeholders in the region we will not allow them to rubbish him and the amnesty programme”.
The ex-militant leaders said while the Senate committee headed by Senator Matthew Urhogbide had the statutory right of carrying out their oversight functions, they must be careful and be sincere, especially when it had to do with the Niger Delta.
They insisted it made no sense whatsoever to compel a man to answer for an alleged offence that he knew nothing about, and urged the Senate committee to stop the sponsored media trial and invite those responsible to answer for themselves what transpired in 2018.
They said: “We are surprised that an institution like the Senate will allow themselves to be used by desperate people who are trying to fight back because of their hatred for Dikio. Let me say this, we will take this matter to any length. We will not allow evildoers to hold us to ransom. Never again!
“Those who have been fired from the PAP deserved it because they were not adding value to the system. They have for too long stifled the smooth operations of the programme because of their greed. What we are seeing is a revival of PAP to meet its expectations.
“We know the pressure Dikio is going through because he refused to offer contracts to people who are not capable of handling such contracts. We don’t want to believe that the senators are guilty of this.
“Dikio has said contracts can only be awarded to people who meet the expected standards and we stand by that. Only recently, he terminated a contract because the company breached the terms and we supported him”.
By: Akujobi Amadi
Inflation: Govs Meet Buhari Over Economic Woes, Insecurity, Today
Worried by the economic woes in the country, the 36 governors would, today, meet at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, to discuss the way forward.
In a statement, yesterday, the Director, Media and Public Affairs of Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, declared that the state of the nation’s economy would dominate conversations during the meeting.
According to the statement, “several governors reasoned that it is high time to tell each other the bare truth by confronting each other on the situation and brainstorming on it.”
The statement noted that: “This formed the basis for resorting to an in-person meeting which since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has been relegated by the states’ executives.
“Two things will feature prominently in the conversation: the economy and security. This will be the first time in the year, contrary to media reports that governors had collectively advised the president on the weeding of fifty-year-olds from the federal civil service and other spurious suggestions meant to impose further hardship on the people, that governors will collectively meet to consider a total overhaul of the nation’s economy.
“The meeting which, according to the invitation issued by the Director-General of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Mr Asishana Bayo Okauru, will commence at 2pm. It begins with the launch of the Primary Health Care Leadership Challenge Fund, followed by the launch of the World Bank SFTAS charter before the real conversation on the state of the economy begins.
“There will also be such regular updates as the CARES programme and the chairman’s remarks. All governors are warmly welcome.”
2023: Momodu Urges Atiku To Sign Peace Pact With Rivers Gov …Says Fear Of Wike, Beginning Of Wisdom In PDP
A former presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dele Momodu, has suggested a solution to the rift between the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike.
Momodu suggested that a close-door dialogue between Atiku and Wike would resolve the rift between the two politicians.
There has been a rift between the pair after the PDP presidential primaries in Abuja.
Weighing in on the face-off, the veteran journalist said both politicians should possibly sign a pact and agree on deliverables.
Momodu said the fallout of the PDP post-national convention crisis has shown that Wike was a force to reckon with in the party ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
According to Momodu: “What I would advise Atiku Abubakar to do today is to sit down one-on-one without no other person present with Governor Wike and agree on deliverables, if possible, sign an agreement.
“The situation in PDP shows what Wike is in the equation of things in Nigeria. If you have a man who is your best governor across the board, across party lines, Wike stands out as a fantastic performer.
“Today, the fear of Wike is the beginning of wisdom in PDP, there is no question about that. Wike is smart, he knows the game he’s playing, and what he wants to do is to force a deal with the party. That’s my own reading of the situation.”
Wike Labels Disgruntled Elders As Traitors …Says He’s A Fulfilled Leader …He Was Best Performing LG Chairman In Rivers -Odili
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has accused some elders of ganging up against him because they did not scale through the primary to be the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
The governor explained that some of them, on his 2021 birthday, who indicated interest to fly the ticket, but failed at their bid to clenching it are now in Abuja plotting against him.
Wike spoke, last Monday, during the 74th birthday reception organised to honour the former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, at the private residence built and donated to him by the state government in Old Government Residential Area, Port Harcourt.
The governor said those elders came to him in their own accord and showed a commitment that they would stay to see through what they came to convince him about.
“On my last birthday, 12midnight, some of our elders called me that they want to see me. They came to me and said they came to wish me happy birthday.
“Then, they presented me a letter that I should run for president. All of them including Dr. Abiye (Sekibo) signed the document.
“I say okay, you people too should go and give me someone who will be governor after me. They all sat there, looking left and right.
“I asked them, those of you who are interested to be governor should raise your hands. Everybody raised his hand. One person didn’t raise his hand, Senator Bari Mpigi. I asked why he was not interested, he replied, sir, let me hold what God has given me. I don’t want to lose the two.”
Wike noted that the elders also signed to a document that they would abide by whatever becomes the outcome of the governorship primary.
But governor expressed the regrets that since they were not successful, they have turned around now to allege that he was pursuing a third term bid.
“Some persons don’t know the history. They go and tell all kinds of story. But the truth is this; all of them (elders) signed the document prepared by O.C.J. Okocha that whoever I will bring, they will abide by it.
“But now, they went to Abuja that I must not be vice president. I also read, yesterday, when I was in Paris, one of them saying that I told him that if they do to me what they did to Dr. Peter Odili; that I will collapse the system.
“I am not an ungrateful person; and I will never be ungrateful in my life. What’s important is that I have done well as a governor. I am happy and I am leaving office a happy man.”
The Rivers State governor recalled that when Dr. Peter Odili was to run for the office of the president, he had a large crowd following, happily.
He noted that when the issue of governorship of Rivers State was to be decided and he did not give those who wanted it, they all left him, ran to Abuja to thwart his presidential ambition.
Wike, however, said he has been holding on to the advise of the former governor, hence he was not surprised at the turn of events and the outcome of the PDP presidential primary.
He described Dr. Peter Odili a true leader of men, who groomed many, and supported a lot of persons to political lamplight, particularly in Rivers State and across the country.
“There was a time every political class abandoned Odili. This is a man who gave us everything. Some people called him ‘Mr. Donatus’. There was no abuse he did not get. Everybody he tried to help their families, at the end of the day, all betrayed him.
“For us, we have used him as a school, and we thank him for making himself available for us to use him to learn so that we won’t be shocked of whatever that is going to happen.”
Wike expressed delight at the opportunity to have known Odili and being able to celebrate him.
He pointed to the several support and the gains from the political tutelage under Odili that had made him accomplish his political successes.
He reiterated that Odili’s benevolence made it possible for Ikwerre sons to emerge governors of Rivers State.
In his response, the former Governor of the state, Dr. Peter Odili said, himself and his wife, Hon. Justice Mary Odili (rtd) were overwhelmed by the birthday gift, courtesy of the state government.
Odili explained that during his tenure as governor, Wike was the best performing council chairman in the state.
He lauded Wike for investing in human capacity development, infrastructure and building the best law school campus in Port Harcourt.
In his goodwill message, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, harped on the need for all Nigerians to work together to enthrone fairness, justice and equity in all facet of society, which Odili has always stood for.
Also speaking, Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, noted that Odili was a great leader who had impacted on many lives across the country.
Similarly, former Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke, commended Odili for being a role model and comporting himself very well after leaving office.
In his homely at the thanksgiving mass, Monsignor Pius Kii, said Nigeria missed the opportunity of having Dr. Peter Odili as their president because he would have used his farsighted ability, courage and adaptive capacities to solve Nigeria’s many problems.
Similarly, the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, felicitated with Dr. Peter Odili, as he celebrated his 74th Birthday, last Monday.
In her goodwill message in Government House, Port Harcourt, Banigo said as the father of the modern Rivers State, Odili has continued to be a great leadership icon, whose leadership style impacted positively on the lives of Rivers people and beyond during his tenure as the governor of Rivers State.
Banigo, who expressed gratitude to Odili for his support to the Wike-led administration, described him as a philanthropist per excellence, a great patriot and astute statesman.
The deputy governor while wising him many happy returns, prayed the Almighty God to continue to bless and keep Odili in good health.
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