By our reporter

The Interim Administrator of the Amnesty Office, Maj Gen Barry Ndiomu(retd.) has awarded a N2.9 billion contract for the training of 139 pilots to Alom Aviation Limited two weeks to the end of his tenure.

Ndiomu was appointed by former president Muhammadu Buhari in September 2022 to wind down the Presidential Amnesty Programme and he was expected to leave the office in weeks.

He was said to have paid N2.9bn full contract sum to Alom Aviation Limited in violation of the Procurement Act 2019, as amended, which stipulates 30 per cent mobilisation fee for contracts.

Sources said the company was being promoted by some officials in the office of the interim administrator.

It was not clear if the agency conducted an open competitive bidding for the contract as stipulated by the Procurement Act.

It was learnt that Ndiomu does not have the authority to award such a huge contract and there are speculations that he allegedly deviated from the procurement protocol as reflected by the payment of N2.9bn due to uncertainty over his tenure.

A source disclosed that the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, who supervises the Amnesty Office, is looking into multiple petitions lodged against Ndiomu.

It was further learned that the Interim Administrator was persuaded to pay the full contract sum upfront because he may be removed from office soon because of the high number of petitions against him.

It was also gathered that the NSA was unlikely to extend Ndiomu’s tenure following the worrisome allegations of impropriety levelled against his administration by stakeholders.

Some Amnesty Office workers described the payment of the N2.9bn contract sum to Alom Aviation Limited as odd and curious.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior official said it was odd for the Amnesty Office to flagrantly violate the law by making a 100 per cent payment for a contract that is yet to commence, let alone completed.

Investigation also revealed that workers in the accounts department had been forced to take a non-disclosure oath with threats of dismissal should they reveal the illegal payment to the public.

Meanwhile, about 60 of the 139 beneficiaries of the training programme maintenance engineers and their training would be conducted in Lagos at the Leads Stream Aviation owned by one Mr Roland while the pilots are to be trained in France by Green Africa Airline and at Sim Aero in South Africa.

Checks revealed that the Lagos training centre was not yet ready.

Meanwhile, the office told the beneficiaries that the reason for the delay in deploying them was because of the petitions written against Ndiomu.

A staff of Alom Aviation Limited in Lagos who spoke on condition of anonymity disclosed that the firm has received 100% payment for the contract, adding that ‘’kickbacks had already been given to some officials in the Amnesty Office as agreed prior to the award of the contract.’’

When contacted, the spokes person of the Amnesty Office, Freston Akpo, said the allegations as mentioned are false, unfounded and misleading. “The general public is enjoined to disregard it in its entirety.

“In the last one year, the PAP under General Barry Ndiomu has scored notable successes and recorded milestones in areas which have added value to the programme beneficiaries and Niger Delta communities. This it has done despite growing economic challenges.

“The PAP will continue to maintain focus while sustaining relevant programs and projects to better the lives of the ex-agitators.

“The PAP has over time cultivated a healthy relationship with the media but would not hesitate to pursue legal action against false and unsubstantiated reports to incite the public against the Programme and cause restiveness in the region. “

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