Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has urged the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) to give priority to the sustenance of human capital development in the Niger Delta.
He also advised PAP to ensure that the scholarships for under-graduates within and outside the country as well as the payment of monthly stipends to the beneficiaries of the programme were paid promptly.
Jonathan gave the advice when he hosted the new PAP Interim Administrator, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), in Abuja.
Dikio, according to a statement by the programme’s Director of Information, Florence Dibiaezue-Eke, visited the former President to signal the commencement of consultative meetings with critical stakeholders in the Niger Delta. The Administrator met last week with President Muhammadu Buhari also in Abuja.
Jonathan also advised Dikio to avoid the temptation of taking on responsibilities beyond the funding capacity of the office.
“One thing I should tell you also is that you should not bite more than you can chew as the saying goes. You should accommodate the projects which you think you can effectively carry out with your budget,” he told the Administrator.
Jonathan added that the Niger Delta Development Commission and the Presidential Amnesty Office have been of concern to the stakeholders even though the amnesty programme has fared better in terms of pursuing the objectives that inspired its establishment.
He admonished that if 70 per cent of funds budgeted for the two agencies were utilised for the intended purposes, the Niger Delta would have been better.
Earlier in his remark, Dikio hailed Jonathan for midwifing the amnesty process as the then vice-president.
He added that his visit was in furtherance to his consultation with critical stakeholders in the region on how best to approach and tackle the task of productively running the office to the benefit of the region and Nigeria.