Coordinator: Amnesty programme will no longer prioritise contractors over ex-militants
The interim administrator of the presidential amnesty programme (PAP), Milland Dikio has stated that the scheme will no longer prioritise contractors at the expense of ex-agitators.
This was stated by Dikio during a parley with the leadership of the first phase of PAP in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state on Friday.
The amnesty programme was established in 2009 by the federal government during the tenure of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and it was focused on the disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration (DDR) of ex-militants in the region.
The coordinator condemned the existing situation which allows contractors to gulp 85 percent of the total funds accrued to the PAP, while ex-agitators were left with the remaining fraction, adding that the 15 percent left is hardly enough for training and empowering them.
“The PAP will no longer be contractor-driven. We are not going to engage in tokenism. I am not going to award contracts or go into projects just for the heck of it. Never, I won’t. Rather I will focus on ‘train, mentor and employ’. That’s our new philosophy,” he said.
“The same applies to scholarship. Scholarship is a privilege and not a right. We will focus on training in those areas that we have comparative advantage. Hence, rather than train our people as pilots where they will end up looking for non-existent jobs after undergoing such an expensive training. I will rather train our people in the maritime area where we have natural, latent abilities.
“It’s an end to end package. There are outstanding 8,000 ex-agitators registered, captured in the amnesty programme that are yet to receive training. Those 8,000 people are going to be our focus. We will also focus on those who have been trained and have not been empowered.”
Dikio further said that 11 years after the commencement of PAP there is need to re-examine the programme in light of current realities.
“We live in a federation of moving parts and it’s important that we need to re-order our strategies to make ourselves relevant in the scheme of things.
“Our region is blessed beyond oil and gas, so there is need for us to come together to support businesses in the region to grow by meaningfully engaging and empowering our youths to become employers of labour and net contributors to the economic prosperity of the Niger Delta.”
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