As part of more efforts to reposition the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) and improve the lives of ex-agitators in the Niger Delta Region, the PAP Interim Administrator, Major General Barry Ndiomu (rtd) on Wednesday visited the Office of the European Union (EU) in Abuja.
Ndiomu who had a strategic meeting with the EU, solicited institutional and technical support from the EU, especially in the PAP’s proposed Cooperative Scheme that is set to commence.
The Interim Administrator while highlighting how the Cooperative will create sustainable livelihoods for youths in the Niger Delta and make them more self-reliant, recalled that the persistent problem since the laying down of arms which has been how to meaningfully engage the ex-agitators, is the cardinal focus of his administration.Amnesty Office: Outcome Of Investigation Into BVN Fraud Will Determine Fate Of Protesting Ex-agitators
He informed the EU that the figure of existing beneficiaries was reviewed upwards to cover indigenes of impacted communities, adding that over five vocational training centers have been established across the Niger Delta Region, with some at various completion stages of completion.
He noted that the Cooperative Scheme, once fully operational, will discourage ex-agitators from continuously depending on the monthly N65,000 stipends, and look to more sustainable ways of living.
Ndiomu regretted that successive leaderships in the region appear to have applied short-term measures in their approach to tackle the problem of youth restiveness.
Responding, Agnieszka Torres De Oliveira, Politics, Press and Information Officer of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, acknowledged that the initiatives of the PAP falls in line with the Pillars of the EU, which includes Security, Peace Building and Human Development.
The EU further commended the Ndiomu-led PAP for “seeing through the weaknesses” of the PAP and coming up with innovative measures to address them.
While thanking Ndiomu and his team for a very robust conversation and detailed insights into issues of the Niger Delta, the EU expressed commitment to engage and provide more accessible avenues that will enable the PAP achieve its objectives.
The Interim Administrator of the PAP was accompanied by retired Supreme Court Justice, HRM Francis Tabai, the Ebenanaowei of Tuomo Kingdom in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, and other senior Officials of the PAP.
The current PAP leadership is rigorously working with other stakeholders to rejuvenate and support the accomplishment of the objectives for which it was established. It has also been engaging a broader political approach to achieving these objectives.