Presidential Amnesty Commences Aviation Training Programme for Reformed Militants

Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) has flagged off the Aviation Resuscitation Programme for cadet pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers, as part of more efforts to create sustainable livelihoods for ex-agitators and develop a pool of skilled manpower for the nation’s aviation industry.

The Interim Administrator of PAP, Major General Barry Ndiomu (rtd), said at the inauguration ceremony of the flag off that enormous opportunities abound for the beneficiaries in global aviation.

Ndiomu, who was represented by Wilfred Musa, PAP’s Head of Reintegration, recalled that past PAP administrations had made efforts at revamping the training programmes but for administrative glitches and the complex nature of the aviation industry, marginal success was attained.

He said the flag off of the programme, which was initiated more than eight years ago, has shown that the current PAP leadership is critical about advancing the lives of ex-agitators.

He noted that the aviation industry is a major touch point for commerce in any country and urged those who are misinterpreting the initiative behind the programme to “pay attention” to its long term benefits and instant values.

On arguments that beneficiaries may relocate abroad for greener pastures upon completion of the programme, Ndiomu posited that: “There is nothing wrong with it”, as long as they are working abroad and sending home forex, which will in turn add values to the Nigerian economy. 

“Moreso, we exist within the context of a global village where the mobility of labour is encouraged for the purpose of knowledge expansion and strategic networking,” he said.

He urged aviation stakeholders to take note of the programme and begin to look towards leveraging on the enormous pool of skilled manpower that the programme will produce for the aviation industry.

In the aftermath of a code of conduct signed by the beneficiaries, Ndiomu cautioned that discipline must be imbibed throughout their learning process, warning that PAP will not hesitate to delist anybody who will run fowl of items as listed in the code of conduct.

He further charged them to “elevate their  reasoning” and “knock off” the feeling of “entitlement”. 

In a brief remark, the facilitators of the programme, Alom Aviation Services Ltd., expressed optimism that within a year, the trainees will be gainfully employed in the aviation industry.

The MD/CEO of Alom Aviation Services Ltd., Capt. Austin Omame, assured PAP that the beneficiaries will be closely monitored throughout their time with the aviation firm which he said is an Approved Training Organization (ATO) duly certified by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

One of the beneficiaries, Ofuafo White Ghavwan, who spoke on behalf of the others, applauded the Amnesty Programme for sending them to one of “the best aviation training schools in West Africa and situation in Lagos”.

He noted that the training opportunity had already guaranteed them jobs in the aviation sector where such skilled manpower were in high demand.

The trainees were part of a total of 75 pilots and aircraft engineers sponsored by the PAP to various Aviation Training Organizations (ATO’s) in Lagos (Nigeria), Johannesburg (South Africa) and Toulouse (France) for type-rating courses as part of its aviation training scheme.

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