The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Prof. Charles Dokubo, at the weekend stated that the programme has provided an impetus to efforts to sustain and consolidate peace in the hitherto restive Niger Delta region.
Speaking during an interactive session with 137 beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme undergoing training in various skills at the Ezonebi Training Centre, Igando, Lagos, he said the Programme has been transformed to higher level.
A statement by his media adviser, Mr. Murphy Ganagana, quoted Dokubo as saying: “I’m here to show the new form and interaction of the Amnesty Programme where people come together to transform their lives. The programme has taken off from a lower level to a higher level.
“The Amnesty Programme has been at the forefront of the peace consolidation and peace enforcement. It has brought peace and stability to the Niger Delta. We have been able to interact with those in that environment and have bought them into our dreams.
“Niger Delta is now known for peaceful development because there is no development without security. I want you to show Nigerians that Amnesty is now into more of training so that our beneficiaries can develop a skill after being trained, and then work. That is the last aspect of the Amnesty Programme which is the reintegration phase.
“When we train people, we give them jobs and they earn salaries. When they earn salaries, they can take care of their families, not with stipends.
“That is why I had to encourage the consultant in charge of this training centre to make sure that our beneficiaries are not only well trained, but also certified so that they can have jobs wherever they want.”
Towards this end, Dokubo said he created a unit specifically mandated to explore avenues of job opportunities and placement for beneficiaries of the of the Amnesty Programme who have completed training on skill acquisition or educational progragramme.
He urged Niger Deltans to always adopt dialogue as a means for conflict resolution, emphasizing that the overall interest of the region should be of concern to everyone. “People in the Niger Delta should know that blowing up pipes will not hurt anyone but themselves; it is going to affect our children yet unborn. So, there is a way of conflict resolution; sit and talk. Jaw-jaw is better than war-war”.
Earlier Chief Executive Officer of Ezonebi Training Centre, Mrs. Enetimi Evah Bunuzigha, expressed joy that the Amnesty Programme has transformed the lives of Niger Delta youths. “I am very happy about this event today because it has transformed the lives of the beneficiaries. It has benefitted them a lot. I am saying this because I know where they are coming from. It is a good experience for them”.
Apart from the interactive session with Prof. Dokubo, the 137 beneficiaries under training at Ezonebi were also engaged in other activities, including football and volley ball competition at the Landmark Beach, Victoria Island, Lagos, as part of events for their graduation ceremony scheduled for the end of this month.