The Senate on Thursday asked the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun to release outstanding N15 billion in the 2016 budgetary allocation to the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
The Upper Chamber also mandated its Committee on Niger Delta to investigate the circumstances leading to funding constraints of the programme, with a view to avoiding reoccurrence.
This followed a motion by Sen. Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP-Delta North) which was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers through a voice vote.
The senate further mandated the committee to investigate how the names of certain persons believed not to be indigenes of Abia and Akwa Ibom surfaced as beneficiaries of the amnesty programme.
According to him, N20 billion was appropriated in the 2016 appropriation act for the programme while the senate further appropriated N35 billion to the programme in the supplementary budget.
He, however, lamented that only N40 billion of the total N55 billion appropriated to the programme was released.
Sen. Nwaoboshi, noted that the situation was becoming serious and capable of truncating the lofty programme as tension and threats of violence were already palpable in the Niger Delta.
He said that 30,000 beneficiaries of the N65,000 monthly allowance under the programme were being owed five months in arrears.
“Also, 70 per cent of the 637 students in various institutions in 27 countries who are expected to graduate at the end of the 2016/2017 academic year may not be able to do so,” he said.
Sen. Nwaoboshi said that about 100 graduates under the programme were currently stranded in the US, Malaysia, UK and South Africa.
The lawmaker said they were awaiting their October 2016 to January 2017 allowances to enable them to settle their bills and return to the country.
Supporting the motion, Sen. Baba Garbai (APC-Borno) urged the Federal Government to release the needed funds to settle the arrears being owed the beneficiaries to avoid chaos.