A civil society group, Coalition for Social Justice and Equity Initiative has raised alarm over alleged plot by the interim administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Maj. Gen Barry Tariye Ndiomu (rtd.) and the governorship flagbearer of APC, Timipre Sylva, to insert name of the Bayelsa APC deputy governorship candidate, Joshua Maciver, into the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) database in exchange for Ndiomu to be retained as the substantive Amnesty Boss.
The group, in a letter to President Bola Tinubu, called for the sack of Ndiomu, insisting that despite the alleged secret plot, Ndiomu has allegedly destroyed the Amnesty Programme, and that out of the PAP’s 2023 annual budget of N65billion, about N23billion was spent in paying the 30,000 ex-militants monthly entitlements, approximately N13billion for education, about N7billion for recurrent expenditures, and over N20billion was allegedly spent in paying fraudulent non-existent contracts.
According to the report, the All Progressive Congress (APC) deputy governorship candidate, Joshua Maciver, is ineligible to run for the November 11, 2023, governorship election in Bayelsa State, going by his records.
The group, in a statement, argued that despite the subsisting court case at the Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa on the alleged ineligibility of the APC deputy governorship candidate, the Presidential Amnesty Boss, Maj Gen Barry Tariye Ndiomu (rtd.) Is involved in secret negotiation with the governorship candidate of the party, Chief Timipre Sylva for the secret insertion of Joshua Maciver’s name into its database to give him the needed eligibility for the November 11 election in the state.
The group alerted the President and the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu of the alleged attempt to commit forgery, perjury, and contempt of court. They called for the immediate sack of the Presidential Amnesty Boss, Maj Gen Barry Tariye Ndiomu (rtd.) from office.
But the civil society group, Coalition for Social Justice and Equity Initiative, through its Public Relations Officer, Ezra Areo, argued that Maciver was allegedly convicted by an honourable court, and was sent to Kaduna state to serve his 10 years sentence for sea piracy.
Maciver, according to the group, however, did not complete his sentence and escaped from prison by allegedly pretending to be sick and needing treatment.
“Maciver was never a fighter for the people, he escaped from prison in 2006 and was already out of the creeks in late 2007 and early 2008 hiding in Bayelsa government house with Timipre Sylva the then governor, when Amnesty had not been proclaimed, for fear of being rearrested and returned to prison.”
Ezra Areo also claimed that despite being declared wanted by the Ministry of Interior and the decision of the administration of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to offer presidential pardon to militants during the militancy days in the Niger Delta, Joshua Maciver refused to embrace the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) fearing that the Amnesty Programme was a clandestine ploy by the federal government to round him and others up.
Areo stated: “Maciver has over the years publicly claimed to have accepted the Amnesty programme. However, he never presented himself for proper documentation like the 30,000 amnesty beneficiaries to the Presidential Amnesty team. Maciver was not alone in this reasoning as over 10,000 ex-agitators felt the same way.”
The group added: “By the provisions of section 31, 33 and 34 of the Electoral Act, the time for nomination of a new running mate has lapsed. It simply means that the candidature of Chief Timipre Sylva cannot stand alone with a qualified deputy.”
The group also accused Joshua Maciver of alleged forgery of federal government documents. He was alleged to have forged a Presidential Amnesty identification card purportedly issued in August 2009 and numbered BY/B4/007/09.
The group is asking the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to order the running mate’s immediate arrest for forging a federal government document.
“It is common knowledge that sometimes on the 25th of June 2009 the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua issued amnesty proclamation wherein he granted amnesty to Niger-Delta militants.
“It is also important to state that Amnesty is usually and generally, addressed to classes or even communities wherein it allows the government of a nation or state to “forget” criminal acts, usually before prosecution has occurred. Amnesty has traditionally been used as a political tool of compromise and reunion following a war, which offences are usually politically inclined.”
“In the case of Joshua Maciver, he was allegedly convicted by a competent court of jurisdiction sometime in 2006 which conviction has no relationship with militancy activity, therefore the amnesty proclamation of 2009 which cannot operate to serve as a pardon for the offences committed by Joshua Maciver, is not in any way associated with militant activities in the Niger-Delta.
“At this juncture, it is also imperative to understand the difference between amnesty and pardon. While amnesty is targeted towards a group of people for forgetfulness of offences of political nature, pardon seeks to set aside the punishment of an individual, for a criminal who has been TRIED AND CONVICTED.
“By the AMNESTY PROCLAMATION made on the 29th of June, 2009 the same does not in any way seek to pardon or forget the conviction and sentencing of any individual however called.”
It would be recalled that nvestigations had revealed that the Presidential Amnesty office under Maj Gen Barry Tariye Ndiomu (rtd.) has disowned Joshua Maciver as not being a “beneficiary of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua pardon in 2009.”
It was gathered that the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) had through a letter signed by the Permanent Secretary, (General Services), Nnamdi Maurice Mbaeri PhD on the 7th of July, 2023 and with reference number SGF 19/S.105/178, requested for confirmation of Joshua Maciver as one of the beneficiaries of the Presidential pardon offered by late President Musa Yar’Adua.
But the Presidential Amnesty Office in a letter dated same 7th of July, 2023 and with reference number OIA/PAP/IAO/Vol.V/417 with the signature of the Interim Administrator, Maj. Gen Barry Tariye Ndiomu (rtd.), replied the SGF that there is no record in the PAP database that indicates that the said Joshua Maciver is a beneficiary of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
According to the letter, “Joshua Maciver’s name does not appear in the data bank either as ex-agitator or delegate registered in the PAP. Consequently, we cannot confirm if an unconditional pardon was granted to Joshua Maciver by late President Yar’Adua in 2009.”