Sylvester Idowu in Warri and Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Coordinator of Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Prof. Charles Dokubo Saturday said consultation with major stakeholders in the Niger Delta including top ex-militants, helped stabilise peace in the volatile region.
Dokubo, also the Special Adviser to the President on the Niger Delta, attributed the achievements recorded by the amnesty office to the unwavering support of President Muhammadu Buhari beyond consultation with major stakeholders in the region.
He made the remarks during separate interactive sessions with journalists in Warri, Delta State and Yenagoa, Bayelsa State to mark his first anniversary in office yesterday
Dokubo, who spoke through his media assistant, Mr. Murphy Ganagana, noted that his meeting with the region’s top five former agitators and over 100 others who belonged to other phases, aided in the relative calm in the oil-rich area.
In Warri, Dokubo said Buhari’s commitment “to ensuring peace and development in the Niger Delta, the amnesty programme focuses on training and employment of beneficiaries.
“Let me place on record that we are able to achieve all these because of the staunch and unalloyed support of President Muhammadu Buhari has been giving the Amnesty programme and the Niger Delta as a whole.
“On his fatherly watch, we have since re-worked the programme to focus on not just training but also job creation and empowerment of already trained beneficiaries. I can confirm to all stakeholders gathered here today that President Buhari loves the Niger Delta and its people,” Dokubo said.
According to him, some achievements made in the past year include meetings with critical stakeholders of the oil-rich region, as well as leaders of ex-agitators to foster peace.
He mentioned others achievements to include completion of two vocational training centres in Agadagba, Ondo state and Kaiama, in Bayelsa state, reintegration of thousands for varying trainings and formal education and also, provision of job opportunities for trained beneficiaries.
Speaking Yenegoa, Dokubo said that aside the ex-militants, he also consulted deeply several times with elders and leaders from the region to ensure that there was peace, which he said, would further bring development.
“We have engaged critical stakeholders in the Niger Delta geared towards deepening peace in the volatile region. Apart from this, we also met key Niger Delta elders and stakeholders in Lagos.
“We met with over 30 phase one leaders of Niger Delta ex-agitators at the Abuja Sheraton in furtherance of these peace efforts, also the coordinator parleyed 70 phase two the next day” he said.
Among high ranking ex-warlords who the amnesty boss had discussions with were: Bibopre Ajube, aka ‘General’ Shoot-at-sight, Victor Ben, alias Boyloaf, representatives of Ateke Tom and Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo.
Reviewing other achievements of the presidential initiative, Dokubo said the programme has trained and empowered over 1,165 ex-militants who have enrolled in the programme from March 2018 till date.
He said the PAP had also enrolled 11,297 beneficiaries who were captured in a vocational training programme. He added that the amnesty office had already engaged five Greek firms to train about 2,500 amnesty delegates, out of which 2000 will be employed at the end of the training.
Dokubo disclosed that 103 students are currently studying various courses in foreign institutions in the world courtesy Amnesty office, adding that the office for the first time, had empowered residents of communities impacted during the Niger Delta crisis.
“1,230 beneficiaries were offered scholarship and deployed in 11 partnering institutions in Nigeria on January 2019, while 54 beneficiaries are set to be deployed on scholarship offshore this year,” he said.
According to him, the National Board for Technical Incubation (NBTI) has allocated 23 technology incubation centres for cluster manufacturing by beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme for which NAFDAC had granted approval.
He also said that two vocational training centres in Agadagba, Ondo state and Kaiama, in Bayelsa state, for reintegration of thousands of youths, had been completed.