FG Turns to Agric to Empower N’Delta Ex-agitators

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  • Amnesty beneficiaries assemble 32-seater bus

Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

The federal government has turned to agriculture to empower ex-agitators
under the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), as it begins collaborative efforts with the National BioResource Centres in the region.

Already, the Amnesty Office has concluded arrangements with the National BioResource Centre in Odi, Bayelsa State, to train 500 youths from the region on modern agriculture.

Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of PAP, Brig.Gen Paul Boroh, told journalists that his office had realised the enormous opportunities inherent in the agricultural sector and decided to fully tap into it to empower the ex-agitators and other youths in the region.

The aim, he said, was to create job opportunities for ex agitators, create wealth as well and ensure food security.

“It is going to be an all-encompassing training on agriculture because the Amnesty Office has keyed in to the National Agriculture programme known as the National Green Alternative initiative and the aim of this Green Alternative initiative is part of the present diversification of the economy from oil, from mono-economy to agriculture and solid minerals.

“Those are the two areas the government is focusing on (agriculture and solid minerals). The Amnesty Office is focusing on agriculture as a way to boost the economy of the country, create job oppotunities for ex-agitators, create wealth as well ensure food security

“That is the main reason why the Amnesty Office is focusing on agriculture. In order to reintegrate the ex agitators after the programme. I see it also as a mechanism for the country resolution because agriculture accomodates a very large number of persons at a time to be engaged in farms,” Boroh said

According to him, the ex-agitators will learn farm techniques and methods, including fish farming, snailery, plantain farming, grasscutter farming,mushroom farming as well as soap and detergent making.

He disclosed that 120 ex-agitators had completed their training in auto engineering with Innoson Motors in Nnewi, Anambra State, and were able to assemble a 32-seater bus from scratch to finish, while 80 others successfully went through apprenticeship in plastic manufacturing also under the Innoson Group.

Boroh stated that 200 of them had been offered employment by Innoson Group while 16 others who trained as underwater welders are due to return from Jordan after a successful training.
The presidential aide also disclosed that liaison offices have been opened in seven of the nine Niger Delta states as a major step to resolve issues without allowing them snowball into conflicts.