Oct. 2, 2013 Yomi Odunuga
The Presidential Amnesty Office has announced the withdrawal of six out of the 24 former Niger Delta agitators studying at the Peoples University, Russia.
It said the withdrawal followed the indictment of students as the masterminds of last week’s protest at the Nigerian Embassy in Moscow where 16 Nigerian students were arrested by the Russian authorities.
The students had staged a protest at the embassy, demanding the payment of outstanding allowances for six months among other things.
All the withdrawn students were beneficiaries of a special scholarship scheme for Niger Delta youths.
Announcing the withdrawal yesterday in Abuja, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Hon. Kingsley Kuku, said the action of the protesting students was uncalled for as their claims were found to be untrue, unprovoked and a gross misconduct.
A statement from the Presidential Amnesty Office and signed by the Special Assistant (Media), Mr. Daniel Alabra, quoted Kuku as saying: “For going on rampage and violently attacking the Nigerian Mission, these students breached the Code of Conduct for delegates on scholarship that they all signed before their departure from Nigeria. It is also a gross misconduct, which the Nigerian government cannot tolerate. Students on its sponsorship cannot go on rampage on flimsy excuses in a foreign country and damage the image and reputation of Nigeria.
“Our records show that the students were not being owed their In-Training Allowance (ITA) for six months as they alleged. In fact, the only unremitted allowance was for the month of September 2013, which had been approved and was being processed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the time they attacked the Mission.
“My office had communicated the students on Friday, September 27, 2013 about the processing of their ITA for the months of September and October 2013 and the need for them to be patient while it was being handled by the CBN.
“We were therefore shocked when information got to us that the delegates had invaded the embassy, destroyed property and attacked the Mission officials over unpaid allowances. This is absolutely unacceptable.”
Kuku, who is also the Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme, said the school authorities will be communicated on the development.
He also dismissed speculations among former agitators in the Niger Delta that they will soon be paid the sum of Two Million Naira (N2m) each by the Amnesty Office.
“There is no such plan to pay any of them such amount,” Kuku said.
The rumour, he noted, had caused serious tension in some of the Niger Delta states and that his office had been inundated with unnecessary phone calls and enquiries.