The Bayelsa State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) said its attention has been drawn to attempts by some enemies of the President Buhari change Agenda to harass one of their illustrious sons, Brig. Gen Paul T. Boroh (rtd.) through the publication of malicious falsehood in THISDAY newspaper of Tuesday February 9, 2016.
The party in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Hon. Panebi Fortune said, “We therefore write to condemn these pathetic attempts to tarnish the hard earned enviable reputation of the Amnesty Coordinator and to ask them to stop forthwith. Leave Boroh alone”
The full text of statement reads: “Let it be known that the Bayelsa APC shall resist any further attempts to distract Boroh from his already difficult task of ensuring the free flow of Oil in the Niger Delta through effective management of the amnesty programme. This is a man whose dexterity in Peace building has gone a long way to sustain peace in the Niger Delta following the confusions surrounding the Amnesty Programme after Kingsley Kuku's abrupt exit. It is public knowledge that before Boroh’s appointment, the Amnesty Programme was drifting precipitously towards disarray due to the mismanagement of the programme by the PDP Government, thereby leading to many schools home and abroad threatening to withdraw Ex-Agitators receiving instruction in their institutions due to the nonpayment of tuition and other fees. Today Boroh has cleared all that and given the programme a new lease of life.
“Thus we frown at the actions of the mischief makers behind the THISDAY hatchet job, who rather than thank Boroh for his good works, are trying in vain to malign him in a most malicious manner. We condemn that publication and any further attempts to distract Boroh in the strongest possible terms.
“Ordinarily, we would not have wasted our time to dignify the authors with a response, given that the publication directed its allegations against a certain Brig-Gen Paul Boro, who must be different from our own Brig-Gen Paul Tarila BOROH. However, since the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme is mentioned in the piece, we have decided to delve in to expose the lies behind that publication.
“Firstly, the Bayelsa State APC wants the Authors to know that If you must lie against a man, you should at least have the decency to learn how to spell his name correctly. Nowhere in that entire article did they spell the illustrious General's name correctly. But then, are you surprised? Secondly, the poorly written report claimed that the Amnesty Office under Gen. Boroh has spent over N48bn since he assumed office last July. This is a lie because reliable information at our disposal shows that the entire contracts awarded by the Amnesty Office from September to December 2015 amounted to N12.553b.
“What is even more laughable is the desperation of the paper that compels it to tie itself in its own Web of lies. It began its story with a claim that the Amnesty office “has spent N48bn since last July” only to tell us again that Boroh "in just five months awarded contracts worth about N48 billion." Now which of these two lies are we to believe? Is it the version that Boroh SPENT N48bn from July last year to date, which is a period of SEVEN MONTHS; or that which claims he AWARDED CONTRACTS worth N48bn in FIVE MONTHS? At this juncture we are sure discerning Nigerians everywhere can distinguish between spending funds and awarding contracts.
“For the sake of clarity, it must be noted that the award of contracts to the tune of any amount does not amount to spending the said sum. This is because contracts are not paid 100% upfront when awarded. So THISDAY should have made up their mind on which lie to tell before setting out to carry that news story. Nonetheless, we are glad that despite their pathetic attempts to soil the good name of this patriot, they could not say he awarded any contract to himself.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there are still thousands of Ex-militants in the Niger Delta who are yet to be trained or empowered as the case may be. So we are struggling to understand what is patently wrong in the Amnesty Coordinator's decision to award contracts after due process is satisfied to ensure that more Ex-agitators are trained or empowered in line with his mandate. Boroh's actions are in line with this mandate which is part of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s Niger Delta Peace and Development plan. It is in the pursuit of this mandate that the Amnesty office awarded contracts to reputable and competent firms that passed through due process, including Tenders Board, to the turn of N12.553b.
“Thirdly, the THISDAY report also claimed that: "senators, who preferred not to be named, were particularly concerned over Boro’s purchase of official vehicles for his office for over N157 million as well as the huge sums of money purported to have been expended on the training of ex-militants between November and December last year."
“We find it quite disturbing that a newspaper of THISDAY's standing would still be hiding cowardly under the shadows of so called Senators Who “preferred not to be named" to mislead the Nigerian public. How convenient! The truth of the matter is that the Amnesty Office is establishing offices in all the nine states it covers and they need field/operational vehicles in the areas to get their job done. This field offices are aimed at bringing the Amnesty Office closer to Ex-Agitators it is meant to serve. This will ensure that Ex-Agitators would not have reason to rush to Abuja with the slightest of issues or questions they have regarding the programme.
“Also, it must be stated that the Amnesty Programme is a security programme and should therefore not be politicised. We are very much aware of the attempts of some desperate PDP elements who are bent on distracting Boroh with the aim of derailing the Amnesty Programme. Given the volatile and dangerous nature of the Niger Delta which is the operational area the SA traverses via road trips on the course of his duties, an operational bulletproof SUV was procured for his office. Right from the very beginning of the Amnesty Programme, the occupant of the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme has always driven bulletproof vehicles to protect him from attacks. So if THISDAY is ignorant of this, the joke is on them. Yet such dangerous ignorance should not be put on public display when it has the potential to mislead the unsuspecting public.
“Fourthly, to the best of our knowledge, there was never a time that the SA told Nigerians that there is no money to fund the education of students abroad. As we speak, Boroh has fully paid the fees of Amnesty Delegates studying both in Nigeria and abroad. This fact can be verified from the Central Bank of Nigeria. Thus the paper lied when it said the SA ordered students in universities in the UK, US, Canada, UAE, Russia, the Philippines, Belarus and elsewhere abroad, to return back to Nigeria in order to enroll them into Nigerian universities.
“For those who may not know the pedigree of the man being unjustly smeared here, we want you to know that Boroh remains one of the best officers and gentlemen the Nigerian Army has produced. Before President Buhari graciously appointed him as his Special Adviser on Niger Delta to sustain the Peace in the region through the Presidential Amnesty Programme, this reputable Crisis Manager with over 25 years’ experience in peace building had previously played prominent roles in resolving conflicts across Africa on behalf of his motherland, Nigeria. He was Chief of Staff at the United Nations Mission in Liberia, from 2009 to 2010. Between 2010 and 2012, Brig.Gen. Boroh (rtd), was Commandant at the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre, Kaduna-Nigeria, where he had pre-deployment trainings for about twelve thousand soldiers, before their induction into the United Nations Mission in Dafur, Somalia, Liberia, Ivory Coast, among other countries. He is also a onetime Commanding Officer, at the United Nations Mission in Sierra-Leone, Commanding Officer, Economic Community of West African States’ Peacekeeping Group, having been involved in conducting several peace support operations’ training programmes for the Nigerian military and subsequent induction exercises for the United Nations Mission at different times. Little wonder President Buhari appointed him to manage the Amnesty programme in this auspicious moment.
“To conclude, we would like to use this opportunity to ask all those enemies of the Buhari administration's change Agenda who are hiding under such newspaper publications to attempt to derail the Amnesty Programme to desist from the evil machinations because they will fail. We are the people living here in the Niger Delta so we know where the proverbial shoes pinch us. Leave Boroh alone.”