By Tunde Osho
The Presidential Amnesty Office said at the weekend that the beneficiaries of the offshore programme abroad have been paid their school fees, upkeeps and other allowances.
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta/Coordinator, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh, disclosed this in a statement by the Director of Information, Amnesty Office, Mr. Charles Dafe, on Saturday in Abuja.
While debunking the allegations that the Federal Government owed some amnesty beneficiaries abroad their entitlements, he said that 90 per cent of the beneficiaries would graduate in December.
The coordinator also disclosed that the office would be left with only 10 per cent of the beneficiaries on scholarship abroad.
He said, “With our beneficiaries in onshore Nigerian universities including those on vocational training, our office if fully up to date in settling their educational and empowerment requirements. We have no funding issue in settling our offshore and onshore students. There are other developmental agencies for the Niger Delta region that have granted scholarships to students abroad and may have payment issues for their students, they are not sponsored by Presidential Amnesty Office.”.
Boroh said that those alleging that the amnesty office had outstanding foreign students’ bills were peddling false information and were being unpatriotic to the sacrifices and efforts of the government.
He alleged that some of the changes he had introduced into the programme, like domestication of the programmes that did not require sending beneficiaries abroad, had precipitated unfair attacks by those it affected.
Other changes according to him include policy of strategic exit arrangement, which compelled beneficiaries that have been educated and vocationally empowered to quit the programme.
“These government well-considered changes or policies are meant to reduce government expenditure and are in the best interest of the country.
“The policy changes in the programme affected some students, who failed their studies and expect government to fund their endless time of studies.
“It also affected militants not originally captured in the programme pressurising to be part and those that have benefitted first degree but insisting that the programmes must see them up to doctorate degree level,” he said.