The special adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof Charles Dokubo has said the hitherto volatile region has turned the most peaceful part of the country and presently the most conducive for development.
In a statement from the amnesty office, Dokubo who spoke at a meeting with leaders of the Niger Delta in Lagos on Wednesday said, the prevailing peace in the region is an indication of the successes so far recorded.
While reiterating his determination to speedily retool the Amnesty Programme to make it more robust and impactful for the enlisted former agitators in the Niger Delta region, he said the ultimate goal of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is to achieve sustainable development in all facets of the region.
“Since inception, the Amnesty Programme, to a reasonable extent, has achieved its core mandate of aiding the processes of building and sustaining peace and safety in the Niger Delta and the entire Gulf of Guinea.”
Dokubo further stated that from findings and recommendations of a committee he constituted on assumption of office to review the Amnesty Programme, as well his interactions with key stakeholders, including the leadership of the ex-agitators, he mapped out his priority, which included the completion and activation of all the vocational training Centre under construction across the states in the Niger Delta to fast track the training of the several beneficiaries awaiting skills acquisition, and empowerment through the provision of start-up packs and mentoring for several of the already trained and qualified ex-agitators to become entrepreneurs and possibly employ others.
Participants at the end of the meeting held at the Eko Hotels resolved that, leaders of the Niger Delta urge the Federal Government to graciously release funds allocated to the Presidential Amnesty Programme promptly, as at when due.
“The training programmes for beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme should be revised to properly engage them to be employable and inclusion of more beneficiaries into the Presidential Amnesty Programme to be done through a presidential proclamation. However, it is the prerogative of the president to act in this regard.”
They added that an awareness campaign is undertaken by the Amnesty Office to enlighten ex-agitators and youths in the Niger Delta that it is the people of the region that suffers environmental degradation occasioned by pipeline vandalization and that indigent youths from impacted communities in the Niger Delta region including those from ethnic nationalities that were hitherto marginalized in the Presidential Amnesty Programme who can do well educationally, be trained by the Amnesty Office among others