PAP will consider expanding cooperative scheme to accommodate other groups, Ndiomu reveals

Abuja—The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) has disclosed that its microfinance programme, the PAP Cooperative Society Limited (PAPCOSOL), which was primarily designed for ex-agitators, may be looked into to accommodate women groups already engaged in similar practices in running small businesses successfully.

The PAP helmsman, retired Major General Barry Ndiomu disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday when he received the leadership and members of the Niger Delta Women for Sustainable Development (NDWSD), a coalition of community women groups at the PAP office in Abuja.

He said that Amnesty Office is considering looking at the role of women against community credit thrift schemes that thrive in the Niger Delta, for a possible incorporation into the cooperative scheme.

Ndiomu pointed out that women could play a critical role in changing the socio-economic narratives of the region if and when provided with the right tools and encouragement.

“We will look at the thrift or osusu scheme as you have highlighted to see how it can be incorporated into the PAP cooperative programmes through a collaborative effort to improve the livelihoods of the people,” he said.

“I am very happy with some of the things you mentioned, especially the idea of giving attention to women in the activities of the PAP which has always been part of our priority in contract awards, scholarship awards for undergraduates and postgraduate female students, vocational and empowerment programmes.”

The Amnesty boss noted that there are females on the PAP pilot programme and, with time, the cooperative scheme will be the game changer in addressing issues of empowerment for the people of the region.

The Interim Administrator also expressed gratitude to the women for the visit and for the words of encouragement to impel him to succeed.

Earlier in her address, Hon. Helen Inafa Bob who led the group, thanked Ndiomu for granting them an audience.

She noted the role of women in nation-building and called on relevant agencies to attach more importance to developing the capacity of women.

In her six-point address, she sued for the provision of microfinance loans for rural Niger Delta women through their community credit thrift cooperative society popularly known as osusu or okpu.

“This is an age-long self-financing scheme among rural Niger Delta women and therefore, identifying with it will enhance financial guarantee for the rural Niger Delta woman.

“Our group is capable of organizing periodic decentralized training for the women in their various communities to fully utilize the funds for their thrift cooperative societies to grow their micro-economies through petty commodity trading,” she explained.

The Coordinator also advocated for the provision of facilities “for improved preservation techniques of seafood and farm produce, fishing and farming equipment” to reduce the stress of carrying out those activities.

“General Ndiomu is doing a good job here and he needs to be encouraged. It’s high time people of the Niger Delta stopped being critical of their sons and daughters in positions of trust. The pull-him-down syndrome must stop,” she added.

The highlight of the visit was the investiture of the Interim Administrator as the first patron of the Niger Delta Women for Sustainable Development.

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