The Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), has assured former agitators in the region that payment of their monthly stipends would be prompt.
He gave the assurance in Port Harcourt, Rivers State at the weekend during a meeting with the leadership of phase 1, 2 and 3 of the PAP.
Dikio, who was on a tour to the Niger Delta region, said the prompt payment of the stipends was part of the far reaching reforms he has introduced to the programme.
According to him, there were too many bureaucracy in the system which often resulted in the incessant delays in the payment of the N65,000 monthly stipend.
The Amnesty boss said his tour to the region was aimed at taking the programme back to the people which was the original idea at inception.
He said, “The PAP is a programme that was designed especially for ex-agitators. If you are not an ex-agitator you’re a stranger. I don’t see why it will be the other way.
“I was told by some people not to come that the region is not safe. Why should I be in this office and not visit my main area of operation?
“So I said I must come, so that we can see eyeball to eyeball, let me hear from you the issues so that together we can begin to discuss how to move on.
“I was in Okochiri in Okrika yesterday where I met with the Big 5 in the palace of King Ateke Tom and it was a fruitful meeting. Today, I am also meeting with you all to reinforce my vision for the PAP.
“Over time people have confused the programme for the package. They are different and it is good that you understand that so that we can all be on the same page.
“Since I came, I have been undertaken some reforms to ensure that we get it right. So the issue of your monthly stipends will be paid every 25th of the month. It’s not rocket science. All that was needed to do was to put the accounting process in order”.
Col. Dikio appealed to the ex-agitators to work for the peace and development of the region by supporting the new direction and vision of the PAP under his watch.
He lamented that the Niger Delta region has suffered a lot of bad publicity because of the unguided actions of a few people.
“If we learn the lessons of the past then we can do better. Our region has been left behind. Everything shouldn’t be about protest. The more we stabilize the region, the more we will attract businesses.
“I want you all to understand that you can be what you want to be. You can choose to be great and you will be great. It all depends on you. So for you to be great you must think great and begin to do great things not things that will be inimical to your growth” he said.
The ex-agitators expressed confidence in the new Administrator and thanked him for hosting the meeting in the region contrary to the practice in the past.
The leader of the first phase of the PAP, Pastor Ruben Wilson who spoke for the ex agitators said with the new vision enunciated by Dikio, there is every reason to believe that the programme would now run seamlessly.
He noted that it was a remarkable idea to host the meeting in the region which has further boosted their confidence in him and vowed to give him the necessary support.