Prof. Charles Dokubo, Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, has refuted allegations that it had failed to pay the school fees of some beneficiaries.
Dokubo refuted this allegation while fielding questions at the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.
Dokubo explained that those who were alleging that they had not been paid either came into the programme through the ‘’back door’’ or had personally decided to extend their degree programme.
“There is no other stipend that has not been paid, anything you hear about sometimes it is either people have been misinformed.
“We have a record in our office on those who are on stipends, others went into the programme through the back door.
“If I identify those who came in through the back door, most times I don’t pay them because it is eating deep into the budget that you were not part of. So I don’t pay.
“Although sometimes I have a conscience because I say (to myself that) these people are Niger Deltans, how can we send our children out into the streets.
“But we have to look at a way we can manage it so it does not eat deep into our budget and yet manage them because they are from Niger Delta.
“Furthermore, there is also that idea of after your first degree you want to continue to do a Masters’ degree while you were just sent there to do a first degree, you go and register yourself and then go on protesting that the amnesty is not paying you your money.
“People claim that they have not been paid and all that but if you check the records, we pay. Those who are not getting paid is that they have finished their studies and have refused to come back.’’
While also commenting on the issue of payment of backlog of stipends, Dokubo said since he was appointed he had tried to pay most of the outstanding backlog.
He stressed that payment of stipend was an important factor in maintaining the peace and security in the region.
According to him, If you do not pay them, they will go on a rampage, so in recent times I paid about three months at a time, so that these people can have money and I can have my rest.
He added that he had recently put the office on an alert situation where they do not have to wait till the end of the month to pay.
The Professor, however, noted that the people enrolled in the programme have a sense of entitlement.
“If you have been empowered, given a job and been trained, you have to disengage from the programmme. That is what I am trying to do and I believe I will l do that with the support of the staff I have in my office.’’