Itsekiri women, under the umbrella of Warri Women Consultative Assembly, have petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged diversion of funds meant for the training of Itsekiri youths under the Federal Government Amnesty Programme.
The women group in a petition signed by Chief Rita Lori Ogbebor, Queen Eweto, Queen Tene, Isaac Bojoh, Bawo Mene and Bemigho Boyo, accused their kinsmen including a federal legislator, of cornering the fund and thus depriving authentic beneficiaries of access to the fund since 2012 when the Itsekiri were included in the programme.
According to the petition dated June 10 and acknowledged received by the EFCC the next day, the accused kinsmen had allegedly been acting on behalf of Itsekiri without having the backing of the people. The men, it was gathered, allegedly registered a body with which they operated.
The women also claimed that constituency office of the lawmaker equally serves as the registered office of the body. The same office, the aggrieved women alleged, was also used by their consultant, while the London address of the said consultant was said to be the house of a couple who are the relatives of the federal lawmaker and one of the accused kinsmen.
The group further alleged that when they were accused of the fraudulent act, the men “hurriedly went to produce a fictitious list of 75 names of unknown persons and alleged that they are schooling in different universities in the UK (United Kingdom).”
Besides the sum of N100,000,000, which the women accused their kinsmen of getting from federal government purse on monthly basis, they also accused them of deducting N15,000 from the stipends meant for the beneficiaries of the programme.
“There was never a time information was made available by this group to the Itsekiri nation about the amnesty programme, which would have made all those qualified to avail themselves of the programme,” the women alleged.
“We, the concerned Itsekiri mothers are very worried that our children who are supposed to benefit from the amnesty programme are not benefiting. Rather, a group of persons are using fictitious names to collect money from the Federal Government with the impression that they are using the money for the beneficiaries of the amnesty programme.”
The women group expressed concern about youth restiveness in Delta State, blaming it on unemployment and lack of education, which the amnesty programme was designed to address. They lamented further that the children of some of the fallen heroes of the Warri crisis were languishing without moral or educational care.
While appealing to the EFCC to handle the petition with a sense of urgency, the women said that was imperative, explaining that they nursed the fear that some of the affected children might grow up to take up arms if not adequately catered for.