pro- transparency and prominent Non-governmental body- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has carpeted the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Amnesty Affairs for Niger Delta region Mr. Charles Dokubo for justifying the wasteful, meaningless and substantially ill-intentioned claim that the office will spend a whopping N88 million to set up 22 barbing saloons for repentant ex-armed militants in the crude oil rich but massively neglected Niger Delta region. The group said the President Major General Muhammadu Buhari(GCFR) (as he then was)must stop the heist from ever happening or he loses his claim of any kind of anti-graft crusade.
HURIWA through the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to beam it’s searchlight on the financial transactions of the Amnesty office under the Presidency because it has become manifestly clear that the office has become the cesspool of corruption to an extent that facilities set up for the benefits of youths of Niger Delta in Bayelsa state was vandalised recently and property worth over a billion Naira were carted away without the thieves thought to have been hired from within ever arrested or prosecuted and now the head of that accountability challenged and corrupt-minded agency has come out to shamelessly justify the illogical and irrational bogus expenditure on setting up of barbing saloons at very earth shaking and exorbitant rates that tongues have started wagging from all over the World regarding the propriety or ethical justification for investing that huge amount to achieve so little and set up shops that could have taken a little less than N25 million even as that line of trade/vocation does not guarantee consistent potentials for expansion and engagement of more hands since barbing saloon business is a service industry that requires minimal labour. “Saloon business is not the immediate needs of the grossly marginalised and wantonly neglected Niger Delta region. Niger Delta youth shoyld be empowered to become marine engineers and petroleum technologists or empowered by granting them oil well licences so they can become real owners of the ecploration of the huge resources that God Almighty has endowed their communities with. How can outsiders be granted oil well licences whereas the real owners of the crude oil resources are only at best given peanuts in real time to become barbers to be prividing barbing services to their oppressors who are backed up by the powers that be in Abuja? This is a clear insult to the sensitivity and intellects of the peoole of Niger Delta far apart from the crime that this venture constitutes”.
HURIWA stated that on no condition should the management of the Amnesty office be allowed to embark on such wasteful venture except if there is someone embedded directly in the office of the President who wants to corner substantial amount of the stated but obviously over inflated and over bloated budget for setting up 22 barbing saloons/shops even as the Rights group challenged the head of Amnesty office to allow credible Non Governmentsl bodies to recruit barbers to assist in setting up and training those 22 barbers for just N5 million after which the Amnesty office can be guided on how to set up modestly well-equipped and well-staffed beauty parlours and saloons for the 22 selected candidates from Niger Delta ay less than N20 million. Many of our members own and run successful saloon and barbibg businesses which we set up with modest amounts abd these ventures are thriving”.
HURIWA said: “Dokubo who claims to be a professor must be presuming that his ’22 super barbers’ would be engaged to handle the multi-million Naira annual barbing contracts included in the budget of the state house in Abuja to handle the hairstyling needs of Mr. President Muhammadu Buhari. We know that in the last four years, the President has always been known to have allocated nearly N100 million Naira each year for the purposes of barbing his hairs. Is it that these 22 potential barbers and stylists to be ’empowered’ by Amnesty office at the huge costs to the tax payers amounting to N88 million would be deployed to provide services of barbing the hairs of Mr President or what? The attempt to tie a wool of confusion on the eyes of docile Nigerians by the Amnesty office to justify the planned heist of N88 million in the name of empowering 22 barbers and beauty experts is both preposterous and odious. We call on the EFCC to wake up and go after those guys in Amnesty office even as the EFCC seems to have devoted substantial resources and time to go after yahoo yahoo boys and train tickets racketeers. This shameful crime that will happen in Amnesty office must be stopped. Nigerians must speak out to stop these officials from frivolous use of our hard earned resources. Moreover, Amnesty office should be focused on capacity building of the Niger delta youth in very productive and rare scientific areas that have potentials to yield massive profits for both the practitioners and their neglected society that produces the crude oil that contributes almost 90% or more of our total annual revenue as a Country. Barbing business is not economically viable in terms of creating massive job opportunities for other disadvantaged Niger Delta youth who never carried arms against the nation state and therefore were not included as beneficiaries of this corruptly mismanaged Amnesty office. This is a crude form of stealing public fund under nebulous covers and must never be allowed to happen. A good man should stop it by all means. If Muhammadu Buhari is a good man then he must stop this emerging roguery right under his Presidential nose”.
HURIWA recalled that the Amnesty Office had insisted that the award of the N88million contract for the empowerment of Niger Delta youth in barbing and beauty salon business under the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) did not breach any legal conditions.
HURIWA quoted Amnesty office, athes spuriously and dubiously claiming that the contract, which was awarded to Messrs Tovo Vicks Nigeria Enterprises Limited, was part of efforts to provide skills for human capital development in line with its mandate.
HURIWA recalled that a statement issued on Tuesday by Murphy Ganagana, Special Assistant (Media) to Professor Charles Dokubo, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, noted that the N88million contract sum for 22 beneficiaries was valued at N4million per beneficiary.
HURIWA noted that in the clearly unjustifiable claims the Amnesty office purportedly broke down the cost as follows: Provision of refresher/entrepreneurial training course to prepare beneficiaries for effective management of their businesses; land acquisition or shop rent for use by the beneficiaries; business name registration, tax papers, account opening and branding; provision of mentorship/monitoring and evaluation for three months after successful setup process for beneficiaries; comprehensive documentation of empowered beneficiaries, among others.
HURIWA also stated that the statement continued: “We wish to state that the contract was awarded in line with due process and the company, Tovo Vicks Nigeria Ent. Limited is duly registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, with RC 1150012. “Therefore, Prof. Dokubo did no wrong by awarding the contract in furtherance of the mandate of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. However, it should be noted that the implementation of the contract is yet to commence.
HURIWA further recalled that Amnesty office was clever by half by attempting to deceive Nigerians when the office without any verifiable scientific and evidence based convincing reasons for such obscenely prohibitive empowerment of just 22 barbers at N88 million abused the intelligence of Nigerians by stating that: “This clarification has become necessary in view of the post of a bromide of the contract award letter in the social media by mischief makers, thereby causing opprobrious remarks from undiscerning members of the public. Prof. Charles Dokubo will not be distracted by the antics of enemies of progress whose aggression to grab contracts at the Amnesty Programme and pocket funds meant for the training and empowerment of beneficiaries of the programme has been effectively checkmated. It is no longer business as usual.”
HURIWA however thinks that without any shadow of doubts empirically, the explanation holds no water and must never be allowed to happen. “This is a monumental crime that is about to happen before our very eyes. We must stop it or shout to high heavens until those who will be allowed by the Presidency to divert our N88 million are prosecuted and punished.