Abuja—In a bid to reposition the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) and improve the lives of ex-agitators in the Niger Delta region, the Interim Administrator, Major General Barry Ndiomu (rtd) Wednesday visited the Office of the European Union (EU) in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Ndiomu, who had a strategic meeting with the EU, solicited institutional and technical support from the international organization, especially in the PAP’s proposed Cooperative Scheme that is set to commence.
The amnesty boss while highlighting how the cooperative will create sustainable livelihoods for Niger Delta youths 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.
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 oil-rich region, with some at various 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 argued that successive leaderships in the region appear to have applied short-term measures in their approach to tackling 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 fall in line with the Pillars of the EU, which include 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 to achieve its objectives.
Ndiomu 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.
Mangrovepen.ng gathered that the current PAP leadership is rigorously working with other stakeholders to rejuvenate and support the accomplishment of the objectives for which it was established.
The amnesty office, under Ndiomu, has equally been adopting a broader political approach to achieving PAP’s objectives.