N4.88bn: Corruption Allegations Against Buhari’s Amnesty Boss Get Messier…

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Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta and the Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Professor Charles Dokubo

…As Source Confirms Claims Made In Leaked Audio Exposing Dokubo

  • Details How Amnesty Office Became A Brothel Under Him… Only A Woman Can Deliver Programme’s Mandate
  • Activists’ Group Calls For Transparency To Avoid Looming Hostilities In N’Delta

24 hours after an audio recording was leaked, revealing plans by the Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Professor Charles Dokubo, to allegedly cart away N4.88 billion from the scheme’s coffers, The New Diplomat had exclusively got an insider’s hint, coming from a source at the amnesty office, Abuja, claiming all the allegations made by the Director of Finance and Administration, PAP, Mr. Ilem Iyam in the leaked audio circulating are “real.”

The source who pleaded anonymity due to the messiness of the issue at hand, as well as the security threat involved went further to substantiate on the claims made by the DFA, saying the programme has been enmeshed in serious corruption because a set of people have been rotating the amnesty office’s leadership among themselves “like a brotherhood.”

On Monday, SaharaReporters had uploaded an audio, where Ilem-Iyam was heard telling a concerned friend at the other end of the call, how the amnesty boss and President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Adviser on the Niger Delta (Dokubo) had continued to threaten him, asking him to look away and allow willy-nilly, the siphoning of a lump sum, totalling N4.88bn by way of contracts awarded to 35 front companies.

Out of the said N4.88bn, the DFA revealed, stating that: “I think the one they are particular about is the N1.8billion. First of all, they awarded it as a distribution contract and I said ‘no, how can you award N1.8billion to one person and there was no Tenders Board’?

“I don’t know when the contract was awarded. As a DFA, I am a statutory member of the tender board….. And awarding N1.8billion contract to one person is against the majority interest of the Niger Delta People. I told them if it is, I would not put my hand there; I would not pay,” Ilem-Iyam said in the audio.

He said when the money finally dropped in the amnesty’s account, his failure to collude with Dokubo and four other ranking officials at the amnesty office in cashing out the fund using fictitious company names has contributed a security threat to his life, making him to be on the trail of assailants seeking to harm him.

Corroborating the DFA’s claim, The New Diplomat‘s top source who has worked at the amnesty office since inception claimed “that the news is true, he doesn’t sign files if it’s not from his person. If you see the files in that DFA’s office, it can build a house.”

The source described Dokubo as someone who is more pre-disposed to the female beneficiaries of the amnesty programme than their male counterparts, alleging that his randy nature has almost turn the office to a ‘brothel’ of some sorts, as the ex-agitators are already contemplating returning back to the creeks to further cause economic and political unrest to the nation.

“The allegations are real. The boys will come there, they will stand outside. Girls with short skirt will come, they will put them inside. The place became almost like a brothel. The man knows nothing about the programme. If you have the boys on your side, no Jupiter can move you, but if you believe that I’m close to the President’s wife, or the NSA, I always tell him that ‘Oga no bi this o.’

“It’s becoming nauseating to give it to these men and they mess it up like this. If it goes on, the crisis that’s coming will be bigger than what Buhari has ever seen. The boys are becoming hungry. Imagine the boys who fought for the project will come and they will stand outside. A young girl will come and be allowed to enter. He’s not interested in seeing the boys.

“The boys are returning back to the creeks now. Buhari cannot withstand a repeat of the Niger Delta struggle coupled with Boko Haram, the nation will crumble. He (Dokubo) doesn’t have respect for the boys. He sees only his girlfriends.”

According to the source, while the amnesty office has had its priorities misplaced by embarking on some empowerment trainings which fell short of addressing the core need of the angered ex-agitators, others were trained without providing them with the necessary equipment to kick start their trade, something which the federal government had already committed huge resources into.

“For example if you train a fisherman and after training you failed to give him net and boat, then what’s the use. You train the boys but you don’t pay the vendors to go and empower them. Meanwhile, the trainings are long. You know our localities are riverine in nature. All they know is to drive boat and dive in water, but Dokubo is still training them on how to operate commodity shops. How can you tell a boy of 35 years to have shop, selling provisions, spaghetti and onions. The purpose of the whole thing has been defeated in the sense that these boys refused. They are saying: ‘Na boat I dey drive o, I no know why you say make I go dey do commodity.’ Because the man is not a part of the struggle, he doesn’t know that place. As much as they tried to let him know, he refused because he believed he’s a professor. That’s the reason why he’s in this mess. The training is all rubbish and a charade.

“The Niger Delta is not an Ijaw nation, we have nine states. But only people from Ijaw ethnic nationality have been occupying that place. We had Paul Boroh from Bayelsa, the current head, Dokubo is from Rivers; Kingsley Kuku from Ondo and Timi Alaibe from Bayelsa again. They’re all Ijaws. We have not had anybody from Delta. The place is enmeshed in this serious corruption because of a set of people who have been rotating the office among themselves. It’s like a brotherhood. Not only the Ijaw people fought the fight, many people fought with their pen too and we’re still fighting. Right now there’s need for a change. Buhari said he will put more women. Give it to a woman. This is the stage where they need the mother’s care. The stage we’re is a stage where the boys need to go back to the society like a proud Nigerian and a proud Niger Deltan. A woman is a better manager. I’m still in shock that Prof. can do this kind of thing,” the source said.

It would be recalled Dokubo was appointed in March 2018, following the sack of his predecessor, Gen. Paul Boroh by President Buhari. Boroh was later arrested by the men the Economic and Financial Crimes Comission (EFCC) after a whopping sum of $9,000,000 raw cash was recovered from his house in Abuja.

Reacting to the allegations raised through a statement issued by his special adviser on media, Mr. Murphy Gangana, the amnesty boss dismissed the claims raised by the DFA, terming them as a plot against his character.

“The plot, which is already in its advanced stage, is orchestrated by individuals who have failed in their bids to force Dokubo to award contracts to them,” he said.

However, concerned activists’ groups are worried that if the culture of probity and transparency are not entrenched over opacity in delivering the amnesty programme, the fragile peace enjoyed by the current administration in the Niger Delta which had culminated into a stable and an increased oil output may soon be jeopardized, should the ex-agitators mount fresh hostilities over failed expectations.

The Deputy Chairman of the Joint Action Front (JAF) — a coalition of civil societies — Mr. Achike Chude, while bemoaning the level of fraud that has engulfed the amnesty programme 10 years after its commencement under late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua said the scheme has become a cash cow for different people wanting to milk the country’s resources dry.

“The Niger Delta amnesty programme is being undertaken in a national environment characterized by fraud and corruption in virtually all sectors of our national life. Therefore, it can be argued that the seemingly endless stories of mal-administration, graft and corruption is a reflection of our ongoing socio-economic realities. Obviously the amnesty programme has become, over the years, a veritable cash cow for various people in and out of the programme.

“This has once more contributed in undermining the so called anti-coruption war of the government. In fact, the opacity and secrecy in the financial transactions within the amnesty programme can be likened to the secrecy and opacity in the modus operandi of the NNPC,” Chude told The New Diplomat.

In what sounded like a warning to the administration, he said: “This secrecy in the transactions of the amnesty programme could have negative national ramifications because of the dominance of the oil sector in revenue generation for the country since a return to sabotage of pipelines would once more impact negatively on the economy. The government must stop the corruption in the program and ensure that the beneficiaries of the scheme are given their dues.”

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