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Relief as ex-militants’ payment begins

The payment of backlog of allowances to ex-militants in local and foreign educational and vocational institutions will begin today, it was learnt yesterday.
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, who  coordinates the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Brig Gen Paul Boroh (rtd) told a delegation of the  European Union (EU) yesterday in Abuja.
Boroh said about 20 ex-militants’ leaders were invited to Abuja, adding that Nigeria could not afford the consequences of not paying the former militants.
While receiving the EU delegation, led by Brian O’Neil, Boroh said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had concluded the due process.
“Between today and next week, all onshore and offshore debts would be paid. All ex-militants would be  paid arrears of their allowances.
“The Federal Government is most concerned, especially about  the offshore students  because the image of the country is at stake.

“That is why the debt has to be settled since we have completed the verification of assets and accounts of the programme.
“The new policy change  on remittances caused the delay but it was meant to check excesses and we have been able to sort that out.
“Between today and next week, our foreign accounts will be credited by the CBN”.
Saying that the presence of EU in the Niger Delta  was a positive sign to the global community that it was not all violence in the region, Boroh urged the union to expand its scope for the stability of the region.
While praising the commitment  of N500 million by the EU to the Niger Delta region since 2005, he assured that money spent on the region would be judiciously utilised to benefit the people.
Earlier, O’Neil said EU’s interest in the Niger Delta region was to stabilise the region due to the strategic importance of the Gulf of Guinea.
While he assured that the EU was committed to the Presidential Amnesty Programme , O’Neil said the EU would build on what had been achieved since its intervention 10 years ago.
“The EU wants to work and build on what has been achieved. There is a need to settle down, there is need for peace, employment and empowerment.
“We will see what else to do and attract other organisations towards achieving that goal,” he added.
Two hundred and twenty-five ex-militants have benefited fron EU’s empowerment programmes since the commencement of the collaboration.
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