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NIGER DELTA NEWS

PAP: Kemepado’s patriotic footprints and Dikio’s eye for excellence

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By Tariebi Micah

Bernard Montgomery’s definition of leadership as the “capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence” succinctly captures all what the Head of Reintegration in the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Mr. Alfred Kemepado Nimizigha epitomizes.

He has over the years proved himself to be one of the most remarkable, promising youth leaders of the oil-rich Niger Delta, showing relentless patriotism to the land of his forefathers, faithfully serving his principal and Interim Administrator of PAP, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd) while touching as many lives that he can via his current position.

Kemepado attended Community Primary School in his hometown, Odoni, Sagbama Local Government Area, Bayelsa State; and had his secondary education in Bereton College, Port Harcourt, one of the finest at the time and now. He currently holds a B.Sc in the University of Calabar, a PGD in Russian Presidential Academy, Moscow, and a Master’s degree from the University of Manchester, UK.

Like many others, he had a humble beginning, but his call to service and leadership journey started when he was employed as a Senior Administrative Officer in the Bayelsa State Local Government Service Commission.

Like a golden fish that has no hiding place, Kemepado was quickly discovered as a youth with great leadership potentials and appointed as Special Assistant by the then Bayelsa State Commissioner for Ijaw Affairs, Dr. Felix Tuodolo.

His diligent service elevated him to be appointed Senior Special Assistant to the Bayelsa State Governor on Special Duties, Senior Special Assistant Public Affairs to Governor of Bayelsa State, Coordinator of Bayelsa State Government Media Advocacy Team and Special Adviser Governor’s Office, Yenagoa.

Kemepado’s love for the Ijaw nation and by extension the Niger Delta is known to many persons who have been following the region’s youth leadership space since 2017 when he was elected the Financial Secretary of the foremost Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide and later its Secretary General.

Love for the region is not the only strength of Kemepado. He is courageous, diligent and smart, loyal and consistent, solution-driven, humble and truthful and profoundly affable. These and other qualities have set him apart from his peers.

It is therefore not surprising that in a short space of time Kemepado has risen speedily in the rung of the leadership ladder in the region, including becoming Bayelsa State’s Representative to the National Gas Expansion Programme and Director General, Bayelsa State Centre for Youth Development.

He served admirably and became one of the leading lights of the self-styled Restoration Government; making him a much sort after persona to fill up leadership roles in the state and beyond.

Interestingly, the Amnesty boss, Col. Dikio, upon seeing how Kemepado is undertaking his duties conscientiously, appointed him as his Special Assistant on Special Duties in 2020. Later that same year he was laudably promoted to be the Head of Reintegration of the Amnesty Programme: a position he has held till date.

Kemepado has made sure the Post-Training & Empowerment (PTE) Unit under the Reintegration Department of the Amnesty Office is working optimally. This allows for the exploration of different pilot schemes in entrepreneurship and wealth creation as the end point of the programme.

He is always quick to note that under Dikio, PAP has devised innovative ways in which almost all ex-agitators have been incorporated and recaptured back into the programme, empowering them to create wealth and be self-reliant which is the ultimate goal of the programme.

Today, allowances and monthly stipends due ex-agitators are paid which before now was not the case and Kemepado is proud to be part of the history being created by his boss, Dikio.

Through the Amnesty Programme, Kemepado has facilitated countless scholarship awards for many Niger Deltans to various schools both at home and in the diaspora, demonstrating an immense level of leadership and patriotism.

Attesting to Kemepado’s great impact, a notable youth leader from Rivers State, Comr. Sokari Goodboy Sokari, in a birthday message released in January, described Kemepado as an intelligent and focused servant leader cum precious gift to the Ijaw Nation whose life has been all about service.

According to him, Kemepado “has ensured that the directives of the I.A (Col. Dikio) are followed to the letter to ensure that the Amnesty Office lives up to expectation

On his part, Diplomat Adam Ogomugo Marbo, Chairman (IYC) Abuja Chapter said Kemepado “has demonstrated a commitment to human capacity development in our clime, and we are grateful for all his efforts.

He further said “Alfred Kemepado has tried his best. But I know in society some people will criticize because when they don’t get a certain thing or expectation from the person they antagonize.”

The Treasurer, IYC Central Zone, Douyi Tonworimi Duere, described Kemepado as a trailblazer and vital asset to Ijaw nation, pointing out that he has “constantly put the Ijaw youths in a positive light through the pureness of his character and leadership style.

“His contributions to the overall growth, development, and empowerment of Niger Delta youths through his present position as the Head of Reintegration at the Presidential Amnesty Program is worthy of commendation.”

Duere admitted that Kemepado, with his kind words and calm disposition, is always ready to listen and give the needed admonition and direction when the need arises.

According to a Yenagoa-based media practitioner, Bethsheba Napoleon,  Kemepado is not only swift in discovering potentials, when he does, he goes all out to help them shine more.

“He does lots of philanthropic gestures to people, even those he hasn’t met in person, most of them by proxy. These philanthropic works are done mostly out of the eye of the public, because he doesn’t do that to impress anyone, but it’s just his personality,” she said.

The former President of the National Union Of Sagbama Local Government Student (NUSS) Worldwide, Kelly Bruce averred that “Kemepado is a pinnacle of great hope who has shown untiring passion, drive, and commitment in all of his roles in life including his current assignment as Head of Reintegration where he has almost redefined the role much to the delight of his Boss, Col. Dikio.”

Bruce was right. Kemepado is inarguably a pinnacle of great hope who has shown untiring passion, drive, and commitment in all of his roles in life, including his current assignment as Head of Reintegration where he has almost redefined the role to the delight of his Boss, Col. Dikio.

However, Kemepado would not have had the chance to work in the Amnesty Office and make so much impact if he had not been spotted and given the chance to serve by Col. Dikio. Good leaders are known for identifying and helping budding leaders to maximize their innate potentials and that is what the Amnesty boss has done, and still doing, with Kemepado.

Col. Dikio has been able to gather some of the best brains—as epitomized by Kemepado—in the Niger Delta to work with him, largely leading to the huge success the programme has recorded under his able watch.

With the leadership of Col. Dikio, being assisted by Alfred Kemepado and indeed other great persons in the saddle, the Presidential Amnesty Programme is in safe hands, like never before.

Tariebi Micah, a staff reporter with Mangrovepen.ng, writes from Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

NIGER DELTA NEWS

Indigenous oil company donates relief materials worth N170m to flood victims in Bayelsa

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Yenagoa—An indigenous oil firm, First Exploration and Petroleum Development Company (First E&P), which operates the Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 83 and 85 in a joint venture with the NNPC, has donated relief materials worth N170m to some communities affected by the recent floods in Bayelsa State.

The nation newspaper reports that the handover of the relief materials was performed yesterday at an event held at Danielle Jetty, Oxbow Lake area of Yenagoa, the state capital.

The relief materials were officially presented on behalf of the First E&P by the Head of Social Performances, Mr. Ayebatonye Basuo.

The materials were received on behalf of the benefiting communities by leaders of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps from across the state.

Representatives of the Bayelsa State government led by the Commissioner for Mineral Resources, Mr. Ibiere Jones, witnessed the ceremony.

It was gathered that over 24,000 IDPs, whose homes and farms were submerged by floods, are expected to receive the relief materials.

It was also gathered that the donations of the oil company would help alleviate hardships from the disaster across 48 IDP camps.
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Items presented as part of the donations comprised foodstuffs, water and other hygiene products.

Speaking at the handover event, Ayebatonye Basuo said: “Our thoughts and prayers have continued to be with all those who have been affected by the flooding experienced across the nation in the last few weeks.

“We understand how difficult it must have been for people to be displaced from their homes and to see their sources of livelihood adversely impacted.

“At First E&P, we seek to always ensure that through our social performance strategy, stakeholders and host communities benefit from our presence on a sustainable basis.

“We drive this through flagship community development programmes which cover interventions in the areas of education, health, infrastructures and human capital development.

“However, when unprecedented disasters like the recent floods occur, we also seek ways in which we can intervene to make positive impacts.”

Responding, Governor Douye Diri applauded the JV for showing concern and empathy to the people of Bayelsa beyond their immediate host communities, describing the approach as impactful.

The Governor, represented by the Commissioner for  Mineral Resources,  Mr. Ibiere Jones, said:  “I want to say that the approach adopted by the NNPC/FIRST E&P Joint Venture is novel.

“They thought outside the box by using the IDP camps as points of contact unlike other companies who come into the state and went to the communities and gave out items without the knowledge of the government; they duly informed the government and that shows that they are indeed a partner.

“From what I can see, the value of this intervention is huge, and being a wholly indigenous company owned by Nigerians, it is very pleasant.”

On hand to receive the relief items were representatives of over 40 identified internally displaced persons camps.

Reacting to the donation, an IDP, Mrs. Charity Godwin, recalled the ordeals of the floods and expressed gratitude to the JV for identifying with the people of Bayelsa.

Also, Mr. Konyeifa Austin, from Mechanic Road camp, Yenagoa, recalled that most displaced people were also victims as criminals made away with the valuables they left behind.

He said that the items would ameliorate the sufferings faced by the people as the floods recede.

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NIGER DELTA NEWS

PAP: Ndiomu seeks support of traditional rulers to execute reforms

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Abuja—The Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Major General Barry Ndiomu (retd) has sought the cooperation and support of traditional rulers in the Niger Delta in his ongoing reform of the amnesty programme.

Ndiomu said as custodians of the culture and tradition of their people, the monarchs command enormous influence and can use that to propagate the new policy direction.

He said the new policy direction is aimed at ensuring that the Programme becomes more impactful to the real beneficiaries.

Ndiomu stated this when he hosted the traditional rulers under the aegis of the Association of Niger Delta Monarchs in Port Harcourt on Thursday.

The amnesty boss made emphasis on the importance of the monarchs, noting that to maintain the desired peace and stability in the region, they need to be consulted just like other critical Niger Delta stakeholders.

According to him, “Ever since I assumed office, I have been trying to get myself acquainted with the mode of operations of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. I have interacted with several stakeholders across the region and I realized that I will also have to meet with the monarchs in the Niger Delta.

“Being the principal custodians of the tradition and culture of our people and by virtue of your positions as monarchs, you’re the closest to the people.

“PAP is a national security programme and considering the role of our monarchs in the Niger Delta, it is very important that you’re carried along with the new policies that I intend to introduce to ensure we maintain peace and security across our region.

“I believe that through you, we can reach out to educate people that we need to maximize the benefits of this programme. This programme has already swallowed over a trillion naira. I personally believe that if we had properly directed the resources, a lot more could have been achieved.”

The PAP boss informed the monarchs that he was seeking the approval of the federal government to commence the process of getting ex-agitators to form cooperatives as part of the deliberate policy to make them self-reliant.

According to him, despite the obvious challenges, the PAP has recorded some degree of success, especially in education and skills acquisition, but insisted that much more could have been achieved.

“We have recorded quite a number of successes in the educational pursuit of the dreams of ex-agitators and all other indigenes of Niger Delta through the very robust scholarship schemes.

“As of today, we have 2,984 students in training, in various tertiary institutions across the country.

“We have also over these years between 2015-2022 produced 121 first-class graduates in various levels of the scheme.

“The total number of graduates between 2018-2022 is 2,881. On this number we have Bsc students 1,862, Masters degree 362, PhD 38, we also have about 53 students currently schooling abroad, first degree, a masters degree, and PhD.”

Highlighting some of the challenges that have bedeviled the programme, Ndiomu said, “One of the challenges I inherited in the amnesty office is the issue of the accuracy of the database, now like I said earlier, initially from the disarmament and demobilisation exercise they had recaptured about 30,000.

“Now when I took over office, they still had the 30,000 intact, based on our records. But you’ll agree with me that that is not realistic, what that means is that nobody died, nobody graduated from the university and got gainfully employed and so I decided to investigate.

“I’m sure our royal majesty and highnesses must have read in the papers some reactions by some of our people, at the end of the day, they call you all sorts of names, but what I am doing is in their best interest.

“In my investigations, now there are two categories of what we call stipend payments of the ex-agitators, you have the bulk payment and you have the single individual payments too, that is supposed to be to individual ex-agitators.

“In the course of our investigations, the bulk payment was explained to me, and I want to believe that that is the truth as monies paid in bulk to some of the ex-militant leaders and the basis for that is because there were a number of ex-agitators in the list, that was not accounted for disarmament and demobilisation phases, and so there was the need for all payments to be made to the ex-militant leaders who will, in turn, disburse same to those affected.

“But strangely in the course of investigating, if we could justify that of the bulk payment programme of the ex-militant leaders, we now found individuals with single BVN having multiple payments into their accounts with a single BVN, so which means a single BVN receiving 33 stipend payments of 65 thousand naira monthly.

“In a bid to now delist these names, well not delisting them to say we’re completely denying them because we have to understand exactly why an individual had 33 stipend payments into his account.”

Speaking earlier, the Executive Chairman and General Coordinator of the Association of Niger Delta Monarchs of Nigeria, HRM King Frank Okurakpo, assured Ndiomu of their support in ensuring the success of his tenure.

Other traditional rulers who spoke at the event described the meeting as a necessary interaction for the good of the Niger Delta, noting that it was the first time any head of the PAP was reaching out to them to collate their views on the programme.

They urged Ndiomu to remain focused and priotize the needs of the ex-agitators while also avoiding some mistakes of the past to achieve his overall plans for the PAP.

  

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NIGER DELTA NEWS

Group distributes food items to flood victims in Yenagoa

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Yenagoa—A group, the Concerned Niger Delta Unemployed Youth Movement, has distributed food items to some victims of the 2022 flood that ravaged Bayelsa State and other states in the country.

The food items were distributed to victims who are residents of Lala street, Tombia road, Yenagoa on Tuesday.


Prince Furombo George Bokolo who led the team on behalf of its President, Capt. Forteta Sam Ebipadey in a chat with our reporter stated that “the organisation decided to show concern to the flood victims who have not been able to pick up after the devastation.”

Items distributed include bags of potatoes and onions, baskets of tomatoes, bags of salt and cartons of seasoning cubes.
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Appreciating the group for the donation, a resident of the street, Pastor Woyengitari Imbazi while stating that no individual, group, or government has shown such kind gesture to residents of the street, thanked them for the food items.

Another resident, Mr. Dennis Eradiri who bemoaned the hardship occasioned by the flood, commended the group for their timely intervention.

The Concerned Niger Delta Unemployed Youth Movement is a youth-based group with a vision to reach out to the grassroots in the Niger Delta.

It was gathered that the group aims to create an employment bureau for youths in the Niger Delta and also serve as a tool to bringing infrastructural development, sustainability and sensitisation to the host communities in the region.

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