The Presidential Amnesty Office (PAO) says a group of militants protesting against non-payment of their monthly stipend are impostors.
He said “the PAO strongly condemns Tuesday’s unprovoked attack on journalists at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Secretariat in Warri, Delta, by a group of miscreants masquerading as former Niger Delta agitators.’’
The statement noted that the office had denied the claim by so-called protesters that it owed them monthly stipend.
“For purposes of clarification, our records show that the so-called protesters, who claimed to be former agitators under Phase Two of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) are not known to this office.
“Clearly, they are impostors trying to reap from the success of the amnesty programme.
“Information available to us also shows that this was the same group that attacked the Benin NUJ secretariat last week and made similar claims.’’
The office restated that the group was not part of the Phase Two of the amnesty programme.
It added that “in reality, they are part of the numerous groups clamouring to be absorbed into the programme under a third phase.
“The Amnesty Office is not owing any Niger Delta youth under the Presidential Amnesty Programme as their stipends are paid through their banks from the 25th of every month.
“The payment process is computerised and no one is paid by hand’’, the statement noted.
The office said that the protest was an attempt to blackmail Mr Kingsley Kuku, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme,.
“We have resolved to do what is best for the Niger Delta and Nigeria through the PAP. No amount of negative or hate campaign can make us lose focus.
“We will continue to work with the security agencies to foster peace and economic growth in the Niger Delta.’’
The statement said that the dividends of the amnesty proclamation had already ensured a steady rise in crude oil production, which only recently hit 2.7 million barrels per day.
The office urged security agencies not to be deterred and ensure miscreants do not breach the current peace in the Niger Delta.
It warned that anyone caught fomenting trouble should be treated according to the laws of the country.