Presidential Amnesty Office said it has enough money to fund the disarmament process.
The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Kingsley Kuku, on Wednesday said that the Presidential Amnesty Office, PAO, will fund the disarmament process of 3,642 former militants in the third phase of the amnesty programme.
Mr. Kuku, Chairman of the Amnesty Office, said this when the Chairman of the Inter Agency Task Force on Disarmament for the Third Phase of the Amnesty Programme, James Gbum, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
The presidential aide said the Amnesty Office would fund the disarmament exercise for 31 days, adding that it had raised a five-man team that would support the task force to carry out its mandate.
He said the mandate of the task force is to reconcile the disarmament record of the former agitators in the third phase of the amnesty programme.
“This is because they have surrendered their arms to military formations and security agencies,” Mr. Kuku said.
“The process is being budgeted for by President Goodluck Jonathan and the Presidential Amnesty Programme is mandated to carry out the disarmament exercise.
“Funding is not a problem. Don’t seek for funding in any other way. The President, who has already given express approval, will fund the full disarmament which you (task force) will carry out in 31 days,” he added.
Mr. Kuku did not disclose the cost of the disarmament process.
Critics of the amnesty office have said there is a lot of corruption going on in its administration. Funds for the amnesty office are hardly scrutinised by the National Assembly. The lawmakers had once threatened to probe the expenditure of the amnesty funds, but did not.
Mr. Kuku urged members of the task force to desist from acts that could undermine the disarmament process, warning that he would not hesitate to withdraw or sanction anyone who compromised the mandate of the force.
Responding, Mr. Gbum, an Air Vice Marshall, called for the support of the Amnesty Office’ five-man team to enable the task force achieve its mandate.
He said that he was appointed as Chairman of the Inter Agency Task Force on Disarmament for the Third Phase of the Amnesty Programme by the Chief of Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Ola Ibrahim.