ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
A coalition of Niger Delta ex-agitators in the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Phase 2, Bayelsa State chapter, has warned the Senate against smear campaign against the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dikio (rtd).
The group was reacting to threats by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts to arrest Dikio if he failed to appear before it to explain an allegation of N10 billion misappropriation.
In a press conference on Monday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, the Chairman of the coalition, Mr Cletus Turu, aka ‘General’ John Esuku, described the committee’s summons as a witch-hunt on the personality of Dikio.
Esuku said the move was capable of truncating the existing peace in the Niger Delta region.
The ex-militant leader said Dikio could not be probed for the alleged misappropriation of funds, noting that in 2015, 2017 and 2018, there were certain funds that were paid to PAP contractors.
He said those funds were to Dikio’s credit and did not not warrant audit because none of the previous administrations ever did that.
Esuku emphasised that the coalition, comprising leaders and ex-agitators, are critical stakeholders in the Niger Delta, hence they could not fold their arms and watch the intimidation on the personality of Dikio.
He stressed that the group would continue to stand by PAP’s interim administrator, saying that Dikio had always operated an open door policy since his assumption of office.
He said the PAP’s boss’ transparent system of governance had cushioned the challenges of the programme which had made it attractive to the envy of some politicians.
Esuku, therefore, called on the Presidency, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, relevant agencies and stakeholders to wade into the matter before it got out of hand, warning that the group would explore any means to protect its own from unwarranted intimidation and smear campaigns.
The ex-militant leader vowed that the coalition would protest against the Senate Committee if it failed to heed their call.
He also advised the Senate Committee not bring politics into the PAP that was established to ensure peace and security in the Niger Delta.
Present at the executive meeting were Mr Cletus Turu, aka John Isuku, Chairman; Goddy Kaduna, Vice Chairman; Osuobeni Moneyman, Acting Secretary and Gift Agamene, Speaker.
Other members of the coalition were Thomos Tonkiri, Financial Secretary; Seaman David, Treasure; Appeal Indiowou, Dengo Benin, Taye Amaebimo and Simon Kabowei.