The Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Major-General Barry Tariye Ndiomu (retired), has expressed the readiness of his administration to collaborate with governments at all levels, ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to provide sustainable empowerment for Niger Delta youths, especially the ex-agitators.
General Ndiomu stated the willingness to work in synergy with MDAs when he received a delegation from the Youth Empowerment and Social Support Operations (YESSO) of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation, who paid him a courtesy visit at the PAP headquarters in Abuja.
Speaking, the Interim Administrator stated that there is a nexus between the PAP empowerment programmes and those of the Ministry, which he insisted if well harnessed, would present huge potentials and benefits to youths of the Niger Delta.
He spoke on the efforts of his administration to provide different skill-sets for ex-agitators through the various vocational training centres in Ondo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers states and expressed the hope that the teeming unemployed young persons could be trained and empowered to drive the economy of the region when the Centres become functional.
“The major problem we have in the Niger Delta is pipeline vandalism. It happens because many of the youths don’t have skills for gainful employment and economic contributions and self-sustenance. It is my belief that your Ministry should have collaborated with the PAP from the very beginning. Going forward, any collaboration has to be deliberate and planned for effectiveness,” Ndiomu stated.
“We have turned the Presidential Amnesty Programme around and changing the lives of ex-agitators through our legacy projects and what we require is support towards the cooperative scheme which is up and running and helping ex-agitators to become entrepreneurs and for those with functional businesses to expand their investments” he emphasized.
General Ndiomu maintained that the relative calmness in the hitherto restive region owes much to the deliberate policies, programmes, and activities of the PAP, which the people have embraced.
“We have initiated the cooperative scheme. What we have started is on course. But funding is inadequate. We need funding to tackle and reverse the huge poverty in the Niger Delta Region. The way to go about it is this cooperative scheme. It is still not as widespread as it should be.” the Interim Administrator stated.
He insisted that his administration has cleared debts that it inherited just as it reviewed and renegotiated bloated contracts that it also inherited, which savings have been applied to meet specific needs of delegates especially the scholarship scheme and the ongoing aviation training programmes for pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers within and outside the country.
He urged those persons that have become agents of pessimism and distraction to join forces with positive minded people to address the challenges of the region.
Earlier, Mr. Richard Romanus, Programme Manager of Youth Empowerment and Social Support Operations, YESSO said the visit was to seek cooperation and collaboration with the PAP in line with the Ministry’s YESSO Hubs, which it currently operates to train youths of the South South Region in the maritime, agriculture and other sectors of the economy.
He thanked General Ndiomu for receiving the YESSO team and said a report on the visit will be submitted to the Minister to plan for the way forward with a view to cement the areas of possible collaboration.