Amnesty: I Have No Regret Serving Under Jonathan –Kuku | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Amnesty: I Have No Regret Serving Under Jonathan –Kuku

Posted: Aug 7, 2015 at 2:12 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

• Calls For Human Audit Of Programme lRep Wants FG To Rescue Stranded Students

By David Odama (Abuja) and Yemi Akintomide (Akure)


Against the backdrop of reports of his being invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for questioning, immediate past Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan and Chairman of Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Kingsley Kuku, on Thursday, denied fleeing the country to evade possible prosecution.

In a telephone interview from his Alabama, United States hospital bed, where he had a surgery, Kuku told Daily Independent that he has no regret serving the country under the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

According to Kuku, who clocked 45 in February, “as human beings, we must have made some mistakes in course of discharging our duty. I have no foreign bank account, I have no house anywhere apart from Nigeria and I have since returned all government properties in my possession, including my diplomatic passport before leaving office.”

Kuku said he left N5.3 billion in the bank accounts of the Amnesty Programme and has no reason to evade the EFCC.

The former presidential adviser had last week released pictures of his knee operation, denying claims that he was on the run.

He promised to return to Nigeria to shed more light on the programme, adding that as part of the impact, the “amnesty project has trained pilots as we have sent our students to the best aviation school in the world. We have about 100 students in Lufthansa Training School in Germany.

“In addition, we have about 550 students in the United States, more than 300 in Europe and more than 1000 in Nigeria.

“I therefore, urge the new coordinator to take human audit and balance it with what was allocated to the agency in order to draw a line between those frivolous and malicious petition been sent around saying “I am a patriotic Nigerian; I have future and image to protect.

“Therefore, my integrity is more important to me than vanity of this world. The total liberation of my people of Niger Delta from poverty, unemployment, backwardness and illiteracy motivated me to design a programme that will empower our youths,” Kuku stressed.

The EFCC confirmed the invitation extended to Kuku after he voluntary resigned from heading agency on July 28, 2015, like other federal appointees of the last administration, to clarify some allegations leveled against him in petitions from some Niger Delta activists.

An EFCC source said: “We have isolated the allegations, but when he comes around, we will have the full picture of what transpired.

“The truth is that the Amnesty Programme had some challenges and unresolved issues even before Kuku took over on his appointment as head till when left the system.

“Kuku is also aware that since 2013, a group, Niger Delta Awareness Coalition & Ex-Militants Leaders Forum had joined issues with him on the management of the Amnesty Programme.”

The source added: “Our job as an anti-graft agency is to look into some of these allegations and find out the veracity or otherwise.

“By inviting Kuku, it does not mean he is guilty of the allegations against him. If there is nothing against Kuku, he will be given a clean bill of health,” the source assured.

Meanwhile, a member of the House of Representatives, representing Ogbia federal constituency of Bayelsa, Sodoguwa Festus-Omoni (PDP), wants the Federal Government to rescue stranded students undergoing academic training under the PAP, by offsetting their tuition fees.

In a chat with newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, Festus-Omoni expressed worry about the condition of the students training abroad under various vocational programme now stranded, due to the inability of government to offset their tuition and other fees.

She called for measures to expedite the release of the funds to pay the fees, “because if these students are so desperate, they can fall prey to anything that can now derail their ambitions to become respectful citizens of Nigeria.

“Women can go into prostitution, drug trafficking, men can go into armed robbery and other vices which we don’t want to be part of in Nigaria.

“So, I am pleading with the Federal Government to make sure that these monies are released immediately,’’ the lawmaker declared.

The lawmaker, who said that government effort to meet its financial obligations to the students, was crucial in achieving the purpose of rehabilitating and reintegrating and reconstructing the ex-militants into the society, also stressed the need for the government to sustain the amnesty programmes initiated by late former President Umaru Yar’Adua.

It would be recalled that with the acceptance and commencement of the programme, the country’s oil production increased from 900,000 to over two million barrels daily owing to a reduction in pipeline vandalism and kidnapping in the region.