Niger Delta youths, who were enrolled for free education in various Nigerian universities under the amnesty programme, have protested the non-payment of their monthly upkeep and textbook allowances.
The youths, under the aegis of the Coalition of Concerned Niger Delta Amnesty Students, have petitioned the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, and the Minister of State in the Ministry, Mr Tayo Alasoadura, and copied the leadership of the National Assembly.
The students, in their petition, signed by their Chairman, Sunday Menukuro, and Secretary, James Aderojor, in Abuja, on Sunday, lamented that the amnesty office had stopped the allowances of their over 3, 000 members.
The petition read, “This petition is presented on behalf of the 2017/2018 Niger-Delta Amnesty Students, deployed in some universities across the Niger Delta Region, who are being unjustifiably denied the payment of their monthly stipends and other concomitant benefits.
“This is contrary to the terms and conditions of the sponsorship agreement under the Amnesty programme.
“This has become expedient owing to the refusal of the amnesty office to pay the amnesty students our mandatory monthly stipends of N70,000 each for upkeep; and N40,000 per session for book allowance.”
It added, “We need to emphasize that we, the Amnesty students, having satisfied all the laid-down admission requirements, were legally admitted into these universities.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the delegates/students list genuinely emanated from the Amnesty Office forwarded to the affected universities for appropriate admission of the delegates.
“Therefore, it is safe to say that the universities offered us admission, having found us not only to be indigenes of the Niger Delta but eminently worthy and qualified under the Amnesty Programme.”
The petition stressed that the agreement the Federal Government signed with the amnesty beneficiaries stated that tuition fees of beneficiaries would be paid to the affected universities by the Amnesty Office.
Repeated calls to the phone numbers of Akpabio and Alasoadura by our correspondent for their reactions were not responded to by either of the ministers.
None of them had also responded to the text messages sent to them on the issue as of the time of filing this report.