Amnesty Office explains return of student beneficiaries from UK
The Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme has explained why some beneficiaries on formal education have been returning from the UK, stating that this was not as a result of lack of funds as being speculated.
Media and communication consultant, Owei Lakemfa said in a statement on Sunday that the amnesty office had cleared all payments except a few with foreign exchange component. This according to him, has been delayed because of the Tresury Single Account (TSA) policy of government newly introduced.
Lakemfa also explained that the returning students are doing so because they need to renew their visas. “Students who are returning from the United Kingdom are not doing so due to non-payment of fees or allowances, but because their visas are expiring and are affected by the 28-day window policy of that country. It is in the interest of such students to return as the policy provides for a ten-year ban from entering Britain for anyone caught with expired visa”.
He further explained that the students abroad and in the country on the Amnesty Scholarship Programme have received their payments. “However a few students abroad are yet to be paid because the payments, which have Foreign Exchange components, have to pass through the new TSA Policy at the Central Bank”.
“Before now, there was a backlog of payments, due to the three-month absence of a signing authority in the Amnesty Office following the change of Government and the removal of the former Coordinator.
Upon assumption of office in August, 2015, the new Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig General Paul Boroh (Rtd) immediately ensured the clearing of the backlog. However, the introduction of the TSA in September, 2015 which affected all MDAs, has understandably led to a slowdown of payments as the CBN perfects the system”, he explained.
General Boroh, who has personally visited some students under the Amnesty Programme both in the country and abroad, assures affected students that everything possible is being done in concert with the CBN to ensure that they all receive their payments as quickly as possible.
Lakemfa also added that the October, 2015 stipend to those covered under the Amnesty Programme is delayed because the Fourth Quarter Release (October – December 2015) to the Amnesty Office has not been perfected.