The federal government and United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to empower and train former Niger Delta agitators.
The agreement was signed by Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo and Country Representative, UNITAR Office in Nigeria, Dr. Lawrence Boms at the weekend.
After signing the agreement, Dokubo said the initiative was to fast-track the training and empowerment of ex-Niger Delta agitators enlisted in the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
He said the project partnership “is for a period of three years. It was designed for transforming beneficiaries of the amnesty programme. It is linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is to reduce poverty by 2030.
Dokubo described it as a very auspicious moment to work with UNITAR, which had the required capacity in the training and empowerment of beneficiaries of the amnesty programme.
He noted that the agreement covered training in subsea welding, agribusiness, sea-faring as well as empowerment and job placements for trained delegates.
He explained that job placement, which is a critical factor in the reintegration component, had not been successful in the past, thereby expressing optimism that the partnership with UNITAR would yield positive results.
Dokubo said he had initiated a new paradigm of reintegration programmes from national “to international-based synergies which led to the creation of a new department known as Job Placement and International Development Partners Engagement.
“With this agreement, I am happy because the UNITAR is the only UN agency in Nigeria that has its headquarters in the Niger Delta and our relationship will be well grounded.”
The special adviser noted that the partnership between the Amnesty Office and UNITAR would enhance positive imagery and bring exposure to the Niger Delta region.
He added that the UN agency would explore its international networks “to place beneficiaries of the amnesty programme on global engagement platforms resulting in less dependency on our national labour market.
“In the past, trained delegates in maritime related skills have suffered a lack of seafarers’ component to their skills acquisition. However, our partnership with UNITAR will put an end to that phenomenon, hence its effective capture in this project.
“The attendant effects of these training and engagement project will result in job creation and wealth generation which is in line with my vision”, Dokubo emphasized.
Boms, UNITAR’s country representative, assured that the partnership with amnesty office would bring expected gains, noting that the agency would bring its partners from Norway, among others, to achieve the objectives of the programme.
He said the UNITAR “is the only UN agency that has its headquarters in Nigeria that is domiciled in the Niger Delta. For the past 10 to 12 years, we have had the experience in collaborating with institutions and doing our bit in the Niger Delta.
“We collaborated with NDDC at a point. We collaborated with the PTDF to educate petroleum engineers and the construction engineers in Norway. We came out with very good results.
“What this collaboration is bringing is getting good graduates in the Niger Delta, preparing them for employability, taking them to the right sector and so on. We are here to collaborate with the amnesty office. Then, we will achieve all the objectives that have been outlined in the MOU,” Boms explained.