Remarks at Investigative Hearing by Joint C’tee on Public Procurement and ND Affairs in Abuse of Amnesty Programme
REMARKS BY RT. HON. YAKUBU DOGARA, SPEAKER, HO– USE OF REPRESENTATIVES AT AN INVESTIGATIVE HEARING ORGANISED BY THE HO– USE OF REPRESENTATIVES JOINT COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC PROCUREMENT AND NIGER DELTA AFFAIRS ON THE ALLEGED VIOLATION OF THE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT ACT / AB– USES OF THE AMNESTY PROGRAMME. (HR.76/2016) ON FEBRUARY 20, 2017 AT HO– USE OF REPRESENTATIVES, NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, ABUJA NIGERIA.
I welcome you all to this very important Investigative Hearing which is as a result of the Resolution of the House mandating the Joint Committee on Public Procurement and Niger Delta Affairs to investigate the alleged violation of the Public Procurement Act /abuses of the Amnesty Programme. Your participation in this Hearing as stakeholders, will not only assist the House of Representatives in the discharge of its constitutional duties, but also contribute to the on-going efforts to move Nigeria’s economy out of Recession.
2. The Presidential Amnesty Program as we all know was declared in the year 2009 by President Umaru Musa Yar’adua led Federal Government with the sole aim of putting an end to the intense militancy activities then raging in the Niger Delta Region; and the rising security risks which hindered the exploration of oil and economic activities in the region, resulting in a drastic reduction in Nigeria’s oil production capacity and revenues; foreign direct investment and the dwindling of the nation’s economy.
3. The Amnesty proclamation directed that “all persons who have directly or indirectly participated in the commission of offenses associated with militant activities in the Niger- Delta” were to surrender and hand over “all equipment, weapons, arms and ammunition” including the renunciation of all forms of Militancy. The disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration process was followed by a monthly stipend for the ex-militants and other programmes to ensure the employment, engagement, education and resettlement of the militants and the general development of the Niger Delta Region.
4. It is worthy of note that the activities of the militants cost, Nigeria, the giant of Africa to lose its position as the largest producer and exporter of oil in the African continent.
5. The Amnesty programme extended a hand of fellowship to the ex-militants as partners to jointly develop the region. These efforts aimed at alleviating the plight of the Niger Delta and the ex- militants has been plagued with several challenges which include allegations of lack of transparency; fraud; diversion and mismanagement of Amnesty funds; refusal of Agencies to release funds for the effective running of the programme and in some instances outright corruption and impunity.
6. These challenges have led to the renewed tension, agitation and militancy in the region since 2015. Indeed Nigeria lost about 3,000 MW of electricity to militancy activities in the Niger Delta, since then, according to Raji Fashola, SAN, the Hon Minister of Works, Power, and Housing.
7. Furthermore, according to Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Nigeria lost between $50 billion and $100 billion in oil revenues to militant attacks on installations in 2016. At a point, he said, the attacks cut production to 1.2 million barrels a day — a loss of 1 million barrels a day.
8. We as a parliament, committed ourselves in our Legislative Agenda to support the Executive arm of government in its efforts to ensure transparency and strict adherence to mandatory Public Procurement processes as provided in our laws (Public Procurement Act 2007), and this cannot be compromised in its application to the Presidential Amnesty Program.
9. As representatives of the people, the House noted the urgent need to take necessary steps to solve these problems, and restore the Amnesty programme to the ideals for which it was set up.
10. Let me use this opportunity to state that a more permanent solution which directly empowers the areas and stakeholders where oil and gas is produced should be instituted in order to achieve better fiscal, social and environmental equity. It is in this regard, that we welcome the recent announcement of the Hon Minister of State, Petroleum, of the unveiling of a 20-point agenda aimed at instituting permanent peace in the oil-producing region.
11. I urge all stakeholders and participants in this hearing to be open minded, honest and constructive in their contributions and we expect the Joint Committee to take into consideration the submissions and positions presented by stakeholders in arriving at its recommendations to the House.
12. May I therefore, thank you all for your attendance and for listening as I declare this Investigative Hearing open. I wish you fruitful and successful deliberations.
13. God bless us all and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.