Abuja—The Strategic Communication Committee (STRATCOM) – a body comprising leaders of ex-agitators drawn from phases one, two and three of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), has averred that the oil-rich Niger Delta region is on the path of economic recovery.
Commending the PAP Interim Administrator, Major General Barry Ndiomu (rtd) for his strides in the last six months since assuming office, the body stated that his policy initiatives are reforming the Programme.
STRATCOM Chairman, Nature Dumale-Kieghe who led other members to the Amnesty Office in Abuja on Friday, decried the entitlement mentality imbibed by some ex-agitators.
The policy initiatives introduced by Ndiomu were to transform delegates from being dependent on the monthly stipends to become proud entrepreneurs and employers of labour, he noted.
The Interim Administrator, in his response, expressed appreciation to the members of STRATCOM for the high sense of maturity and patience exhibited, as well as having faith in his administration’s ability to change the fortunes of ex-agitators.
In Ndiomu’s words: “If the current policy initiatives were introduced at the inception of the PAP, delegates would have been weaned off the sixty-five thousand naira stipends and progressed to being self-sustaining.
“The NSA has given his endorsement for the legacy projects particularly the cooperative society which is being processed for registration with funds already set aside for take-off.”
Ndiomu maintained that debts from the arbitrary scholarship award, obligation to contractors, monthly stipend payments which has been scaled down to an extent and other running costs, were still an overwhelming burden on the finances of the Programme.
“We will engage some members of the diplomatic community and relevant donor as well as development agencies for their buy-in to enhance the sustainability of the legacy projects to drive the socio economic process in the Niger Delta,” he added.
The PAP boss further posited that the entitlement mentality among some persons in the region and the atmosphere of violence must change for healthy competition and economic development to prevail.