Prof. Charles Quaker DokuThe Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, has refuted allegations that school fees have not been paid to some beneficiaries.
Fielding questions at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja, Dokubo explained that persons alleging they had not been paid either came into the programme through the “back door” or had personally decided to extend their degree programmes.
He said: “There is no other stipend that has not been paid. Anything you hear about, sometimes, it is either people have been misinformed. We have a record in our office on those who are on stipends. Others went into the programme through the back door.
“If I identify those who came in through the back door, most times, I don’t pay them because it is eating deep into the budget. Although sometimes, I have a conscience because I say (to myself that) these people are Niger Deltans, how can we send our children out into the streets?
“But we have to look at ways we can manage it, so it does not eat deep into our budget, and yet manage them because they are from the Niger Delta. Furthermore, there is also that idea that after your first degree, you want to continue to do a Masters’ degree while you were just sent there to do a first degree. You go and register yourself and then go on protesting that the amnesty is not paying your money.
“Everything that those who complain and protest say, we have to take with a bucket of salt, because amnesty cannot send their students and refuse to pay their school fees.”
Dokubo said since he was appointed, he has tried to pay most of the outstanding backlog. He stressed that payment of stipend is an important factor in maintaining peace and security in the region.
The professor noted that people saw the stipend as an entitlement. “If you have been empowered, given a job and been trained, you have to disengage from the programmme. That is what I am trying to do, and I believe I will l do that with the support of the staff I have in my office.”
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