National Association of Presidential Amnesty Students Worldwide (NAPASW) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to secure their future by making Colonel Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd) the substantive administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
The new executive members and all chapter presidents of the association made the appeal in Abuja on Tuesday, when they visited the Amnesty office to thank Dikio for providing the needed leadership for PAP in the last one year.
The students noted that since Dikio took charge of the programme he had instituted key reforms and had made the needed satisfactory changes, adding that making him the substantive head of PAP would give him the opportunity to consolidate on the current achievements.
NAPASW National President, Lucky Ukuekwu, said their pursuit for academic excellence under PAP might be truncated if Dikio was not allowed to continue, urging President Buhari to save them from such an ordeal.
He said, “The new executives of NAPASW appreciate Col. Dikio for what he has done during this period of the one year he has been in office. He has done well. We are here to appreciate and also pray that God will touch the heart of President Muhammadu Buhari to make him the substantive Administrator of the programme.
“Today we are also here to relate some issues that the students are facing of which we want him to help us address; one of it is the issue of laptops. Most of our students who were deployed during the 2019/2020 session have not gained access to their laptops and you know we are now in a global system whereby in any academic environment there is need for digital engagement, especially for those students studying Computer Science; they need the laptops.
So, I’m here to plead on behalf of those students, so that if our father, the Interim Administrator, is back. They can help us to reach him so that he can help those students to get the laptops.
“We are also here to plead with the Amnesty office to assist us with a secretariat, an office, where we can convene as students to brainstorm on issues affecting us and harmonise our agenda before coming to the office. I also want to plead with the I.A to give us a bus, whereby we will be visiting our schools if there is any function such as students’ week, cultural week and if there is any emergency as regards student affairs, we can attend to it.”
Ukuekwu assured that with the level of satisfaction derived from the performance of Dikio, the students had no reason to protest, pledging their total commitment to working with him to achieve the desired results.
“We also assure the Amnesty office that there will be no room for protests and that we are ready to work with the I.A with understanding and that they should give room for dialogue. We are tired of protests; whenever issues arise, they should call the attention of the students’ executives for dialogue so that those issues can be resolved”, he said.
On his part, spokesmam of NAPASW, Peter Khama, described Dikio as a father who listens to his children.
He commended the PAP boss for the good works he has been doing since he came into office.
Khama said, “I want to use this opportunity to appreciate the I.A, in person of Col. Dikio, because since he came in, a lot of changes have happened in the programme – from the monthly stipend that we now get instead of the backlog, where we have to wait sometimes for six months or one year before payments are made.
“Students are beginning to receive their in-training allowance on a monthly basis and so many other things he has been doing, especially paying student fees on time. So, we are believing God that he will continue the good work that he has been doing.
“Those of us who are here on this visit, from the president of NAPASW, the vice president, all the exco-members, and some chapter presidents from Richman University, Novena University, Benson Idahosa University, Edwin Clark University and Igbinedion University appreciate the Interim Administrator for the good work he is doing. The good Lord will empower him to do more so that the student community can be as peaceful as possible, because since he came in, there have been peace in the student community.”
In his response, PAP acting Head of Reintegration, Mr. Alfred Kemepado, who received the students on behalf of Dikio, thanked them for the visit and for their support so far.
While promising to relate their demands to Dikio, Kemepado advised them to aim for excellence as they go about their studies, adding that the essence of sending them to school is for them to graduate and help their various communities as well as for the development of the Niger Delta region.
He said, “Amnesty scholarship is not a scholarship to promote mediocrity. It is a scholarship to promote excellence. Meaning if you don’t know and in case you get the scholarship, try to know, and if you know and you happen to get the scholarship, try to know more.
“We have heard complaints about the problems most of you are facing such as hostel facilities and school conditions generally. So, we will start a form of verification of the students, and the facilities. But the verification will start from this office and people will react, and when they react, I’m calling on you to stand up to it.
“Very soon this office will request for your BVN and your names. The reason is simple, we have also observed from our database that when we pay stipend to some original students, the money goes to someone else, because their names are there but their account number is not there. So, when we pay, the money goes to someone else, which indicts us. So, we will ask all these questions so that with all these things we will be sure that the real people are the ones we are paying.
“When we finish the verification, we will come down to the school, and we will begin to ask questions why this why this? You talked about medicals, you don’t even know what we pay for medicals in your school; so you don’t even know what you are entitled to, you need to know”.
He also addressed the issue of those beneficiaries not receiving payment, assuring them that the office is doing everything possible to make sure that the beneficiaries are paid.
“Then for the account that have not been paid, the good news is that those account have been collated and have been forwarded for payment,” he said.