Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
The Presidential Amnesty Office on Friday said that plans have been concluded to train 500 ex-agitators on advanced agriculture at the Bio Resource Centre in Odi, Bayelsa State.
The training which will start on November 28 is expected to run for the next five months.
According to a statement by coordinator of the programme, Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh, the training was part of the Federal Government’s commitment to training and empowerment of all beneficiaries under the amnesty programme.
He said the Office received a total of N25 billion appropriation under 2016 Budget including a N5 billion loan from the government.
Boroh explained that the funds were received under three line-items; Stipends which recorded 99.7 per cent expenditure, Reintegration with 93.62 per cent implementation, and Operational Activities had 98.615 percent application.
He stated that ayment of stipends to amnesty beneficiaries cannot be endless, adding that his Office is sensitizing beneficiaries and their leaders to this reality.
Boroh, said youth unemployment remains major challenge in the Niger Delta and that everything possible must be done by all to put the moribund industrial complexes in the region back to life.
The coordinator said the industries which would provide employment for tens of thousands of youths in the Niger Delta included the Aluminium Smelting Company in Akwa Ibom, the Aladja Steel Company in Delta State and various ports in the region.
He warned beneficiaries of the Programme to stay clear of politicians who may want to use them to foment electoral violence in the Decemeber 10 re-run election in Rivers State.
Boroh advised beneficiaries to only perform their civic duty like other citizens, adding that any of them involved in violence would be violating his amnesty oath and therefore be expelled from the Programme.
The statement also quoted the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta as saying that peace must be secured in the Niger Delta by all means as failure of peace in the Region would impact negatively on the country.
Speaking on behalf of an 11-member team that conducted an oversight function to the Presidential Amnesty Office in Abuja, Committee Chairman, Essien Ayi, said peace in the Niger Delta means peace in Nigeria; trouble in the Niger Delta means trouble in Nigeria.
Ayi said that the National Assembly has passed the Executive’s virement request for the Presidential Amnesty Programme, adding that it showed the Assembly’s commitment to the success of the Programme.
He said that the House had fought for proper funding of the Programme, adding that “Your success is also our success and your failure, our failure. We need to flow with you to ensure success”.
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