Aggrieved stakeholders of the Presidential Amnesty Office have dragged President Muhammadu Buhari, the Interim Administrator of the Amnesty office, Col. Dixon Milland Dikio (rtd) and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami SAN to court over the plan to disengage over 200 staff under the Presidential Amnesty Programme and for the awarding of human resource contract to an inactive firm.
Also included in the suit numbered FHC/PH/CS/124/21 and filed on the 30th August 2021 before the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt in Rivers State is a Human Resource Company, HR INDEX Limited alleged to have been wrongfully hired by the Amnesty Office to conduct the mass sack of staff under the programme.
The claimants in the suit, Utip Akpan (Akwa Ibom) and James Ayibatekena (Bayelsa), are seeking an order of Interlocutory Injunction restraining President Muhammadu Buhari, the Interim Amnesty Boss and other two defendants, from carrying out the allege mass sack pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit before the Honourable Court.
An advance copy of the claimants suits, in the writ of summons and motion on Notice, obtained by newsmen via electronic mail, urged the court to declare that the Interim Administrator of Amnesty Programme, who is the 2nd defendant, is required under the Public Procurement Act, 2007 to make public notice of the contract being awarded under the Presidential Amnesty Programme, and a declaration that the outsourcing of the contract to a human resource firm in the office of second defendant does not fall under the public procurement Act 2007.
They also asked the court to set aside as illegal any contract awarded by the Amnesty office to the Human Resources Company (HR INDEX Limited) having been illegally issued and without due process.
Pointblanknews.com however gathered from one of the aggrieved persons , Utip Akpan, that their action against the Presidential Amnesty office was to prevent the illegal termination of appointment of over 200 Amnesty staff by 31st August, 2021.
According to the aggrieved Indigenes from the Niger Delta region, their termination letters was allegedly issued to the over 200 staff in August 2021, but was fraudulently back-dated to May, 2021 and majority of the staff affected are indigenes of the Niger Delta region.
“With over 30,000 Amnesty beneficiary to just over 200 Amnesty staff, a ratio of one staff to 150 Amnesty beneficiaries, the Human Resources company contracted by the Amnesty office claim to be downsizing while the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) and other agencies serving the Northern interests have hundreds and possibly thousands of staff and they continue to employ.
“The lawsuit is challenging the alleged illegal awarding of the Human Resources contract to HR INDEXX LIMITED as it violates the Bureau of Public Procurement act 2007. Col. Dixon Milland Dikio (rtd.) and the Amnesty office never advertised nor called for any public bidding as required by law.
“However, Col. Dikio’s aide speaking on condition of anonymity, stated that it was the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Mohammed Monguno (rtd.) that directed Col. Dikio to employ HR INDEXX LIMITED without any public advertisement and bidding as required by law.”
“We also had it on good authority that the HR INDEXX LIMITED will eventually employ more staff to replace the over 200 terminated staff but the newly employed staff will have more people from the Northern region in order to frustrate the Amnesty Programme from the inside, stating that their goal is to terminate the Amnesty Programme before the 2023 Presidential campaign vigorously commences in 2022.
“It was further stated that the office is currently planning on deploying between 25 – 30 persons abroad for postgraduate degree studies and that the lists of beneficiaries were provided to them from above consisting of mostly non-Niger Deltans.
Also, the contracted company HR INDEXX LIMITED’s status with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) indicates that the company is inactive which should normally disqualify them from securing the Amnesty contract in an open bidding against other reputable companies.
“Col. Dikio (rtd.) whose tenure expired as Amnesty Interim Administrator on the 26th August 2021 suspended the accounts and payments to over 3,000 Amnesty beneficiaries across the Niger Delta region on his last day in office (26th of August, 2021) alleging that all these beneficiaries whom has been receiving monthly payments for over 10 years are all fraudulent beneficiaries,” he said.
Their plans were seen by stakeholders as a test on how ex-militants in the region will react when the Amnesty Programme is subsequently terminated in 2022 before the 2023 Presidential election campaigns kicks-off in full gear.