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Amnesty Office justifies return of foreign students

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The Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme has dismissed the insinuation in some quarters that some students abroad, have returned to the country due to lack of resources to meet their financial obligations.

In a statement on Sunday from the media and Communication Consultant to the Amnesty Programme, Owei Lakemfa, the Office described the claim as untrue and misleading, saying that the students abroad and in the country on the Amnesty scholarship programme have since received their payments.

‘‘We wish to state that there is no iota of truth in the claims that some students abroad, have had to return to the country due to lack of resources to meet their financial obligation.
‘‘The students abroad and in the country on the Amnesty Scholarship Programme have received their payments,’’ the statement said.

It further, explained that 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 Gen. Paul Boroh immediately ensured the clearing of the backlog,’’ he stated, adding that 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.

In view of this development, Gen.Boroh said he had personally visited some students under the Amnesty Programme both in the country and abroad, and assured affected students that everything possible was being done in concert with the CBN to ensure that they all receive their payments as quickly as possible.

On students who are returning from the United Kingdom, the statement further explained that they did not do so due to non-payment of fees or allowances, but because their visas were expiring and are affected by the 28-day window policy of that country and as such, it is in their own interest to return as the policy provides for a ten-year ban from entering Britain for anyone caught with expired visa.

Also on the delay in October stipends, the statement explained that it was delayed because the fourth quarter release( (October – December 2015) to the Amnesty Office has not been perfected and urged them to be calm and patient.

The statement further informed that the Office has opened, a 24-Hour Call Centre where enquiries on the Amnesty Programme can be made. The numbers are: 0809-0088-337 and 0703-5611-612 and the e-mail is;osapndcallcentre@gmail.com

It urged the beneficiaries of the programme seeking clarification to take advantage of the facility to enquire where necessary.

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