The attention of the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Amnesty Programme, has been drawn to media reports on a purported protest at the weekend by a group of recent graduates of the Benson Idahosa University, Benin, Edo State, who were under scholarship of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, over alleged non-payment of their stipends and allowances from July to September, 2018.
Apparently acting the script of their paymasters, the said group of beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme led by one Destiny Onadiya Perewari, though admitted to have graduated from the university, but claimed the management of BIU refused to release their certificates after graduation as a result of the failure of the Amnesty Office to meet its financial obligations to the institution.
We wish to state emphatically that there is no iota of truth in the allegation as the Amnesty Office has paid stipends and allowances to all our beneficiaries who recently graduated from the BIU.
Contrary to the claim that they were still being owed for three months after graduating from the institution, we wish to clarify that they were paid stipends and allowances up till June 2018, which is their graduation period and month of exit from the institution; they were among the set of graduates for which a convocation ceremony was held on July 7th, 2018.
Specifically, 79 graduating students of BIU under Amnesty Programme were paid stipends and allowances up till the month June 2018, in which all of them had their final examination. It is pertinent to state that payment of entitlements to Amnesty Programme beneficiaries undergoing educational programmes cease as soon as the delegate completes the final examination for graduation. Therefore, the Amnesty Office does not owe the recently graduated students of BIU any other financial obligation on the scholarship granted them since they had completed their studies and exited the institution.
In a display of total commitment to its responsibilities to beneficiaries of the Programme and partnering institutions, the Amnesty Office not only paid all entitlements to the recently graduated of BIU, but has also paid stipends and allowances for the months of July, August and September 2018, to 85 of its’ beneficiaries who are still undergoing various programmes at the institution. Consequently, the Amnesty Office has wholly discharged financial obligations to beneficiaries deployed in BIU.
It is therefore uncharitable, irresponsible and wicked for recently graduated students of BIU granted scholarship under the Amnesty Programme to offer themselves to be used by mischief makers for a stage-managed protest for a sinister motive.
The Special Adviser to the President and Coordinator, Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, is passionate and determined to effectively deliver on his mandate. Payment of stipends and allowances to beneficiaries of the Programme, including those deployed in educational institutions onshore and offshore, is top on his priorities.
We appeal to the media to adhere to the dictates of the profession by painstakingly cross-checking facts before publication, especially at this period of heightened political activities when mischief makers are ready to ignite a spark at any given opportunity to create gullies of bad blood.