From Tony John, Port Harcourt

The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) has blasted some mischief-makers following their claims on Senate inquiries into some transactions that occurred in the amnesty office before Col Milland Dixon Dikio (retd) was appointed the Interim Administrator of the scheme.

PAP insisted that reports suggesting that the transactions were done within Dikio’s tenure were the latest work of mischief-makers, desperately seeking to discredit the interim administrator.

It said it was inconceivable for the reports to give the impression that the Senate summoned Dikio for allegedly paying N187 million for the supply of stationery and consultancy fee for an end of year meeting and vocational training.

The Special Adviser to Dikio on Media, Mr Neotabase Egbe, said in a statement that the incident occurred in 2017, and the circular for the query clearly captured the date and other details.

He said if the reporters were not acting the scripts of their paymasters they would have launched an investigation to fulfill the time tested and age-long journalistic ethics of factual reporting.

Egbe stressed that the notice of the query which had 2017 payment voucher, would have ordinarily made them avoid the gross misrepresentation of the issue.

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He said the amnesty office at no time received a series of invitations from the Senate as claimed by the reports.

According to him, Dikio has high regard for institutions of government saddled with the responsibility of carrying out its statutory function.

Egbe said: “The report widely circulated in some national dailies does not represent the true situation of things. The said incident for the supply of stationery and consultancy services for the end of year happened way back in 2017.

“It was therefore surprising that for obvious monetary gains, mischief and deliberate action to discredit the Interim Administrator, the authors of the story couldn’t verify from the office.

“Even the nomenclature of the office from the circular shows that the occupant of the office was still referred to as Special Adviser, whereas since the coming of Dikio, it has been rightly changed as Administrator.”

Egbe called on journalists to always cross-check with the amnesty office to avoid such embarrassing reports, maintaining that Dikio’s mantra of probity and accountability remained changed.