The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, has advocated a re-appraisal of the training scheme offered to the Niger Delta Ex-militants under the Presidential Amnesty Programme to enable them deploy the knowledge gained for self sustainability and economic development.
The Governor made the advocacy during his interaction with the Coordinator of the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme who called on him at the Government House, Uyo.
He said the training offered through the programme does not address the local content demands of the Nigerian society especially in the oil bearing Communities .
The Governor suggested a liaison with the National Directorate of Employment for the development of the scheme stating that the ex-militants would be trained in line with the manpower needs the Nigerian society.
He said, as a practical step towards reintegrating the ex-militants, motivational talks should be used to encourage them to earn a living rather than engage in agitations and called on the Companies operating in the Coastal Communities to device modalities for dialogue so as to address issues of environmental degradation which he said ,are the root causes of their agitation.
The Governor, who traced the relative calm enjoyed in the area to the stipends paid to the agitators , spoke of the need for them to be encouraged to earn a living rather than rely on government stipends which the Governor said may not come too often and in their frustration, might go back to the creeks.
Governor Emmanuel however frowned at the delay in meeting the welfare of the ex-militants and said that such inconsistency in payment of the stipend account for the sporadic attacks on market women in the coastal communities and particularly condemned the recent attempt by the agitators to blow off the Calabar-Itu Bridge.
He endorsed the Coordinator’s decision to establish offices in the Niger Delta states and said that the decision would bring about easy channelisation of grievances for ready solutions to their demands.
Earlier, the Coordinator, Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul Boro, said they were in the state to seek collaboration towards the successful Disengagement, Disarmament and Reintegration of the ex-militants.
He said the amnesty programme which was set up in 2009, has successfully disarmed four hundred and twenty-five agitators and that three hundred and sixty-eight of them have been trained in different capacities.
He said he would create additional state offices and collaborate with the military, paramilitary and other security agencies to achieve a complete reintegration of the ex-militants.
Brigadier Boro commended the state Government’s decision to create jobs through agriculture which he described as the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy and called on other Niger Delta states to take a cue from the Akwa Ibom example.
While commending the development strides witnessed in the state, the Amnesty Coordinator observed that the state is blessed with beautiful and natural sceneries that could be exploited for revenue generation and particularly expressed appreciation to the Governor for the reception accorded him and his team stating that his committee will collaborate with the state in it development efforts.