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PANDEF backs PAP’s vision on ex-agitators

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By Kenechukwu Obiajuru, Yenagoa

The Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has thrown its weight behind the reforms in the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), especially its new vision of transforming the ex-agitators into entrepreneurs.

The forum observed that the beneficiaries of the programme and other critical stakeholders in the Niger Delta region had continued to speak well of the agency’s performance.

According to the statement made available to Orient Daily, PANDEF expressed the view when its executive members, led by its national chairman and former deputy chief whip of the senate, Senator Emmanuel Essien, paid a courtesy visit to the boss of PAP, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), in Abuja.

Essien particularly commended the agency’s new vision which also makes the ex-agitators employable citizens, thereby making them contributors to the economy of the region and the nation.

He said the vision was being actualised by PAP through a new model of train, employ and mentor, as well as constituting ex-agitators into cooperatives in the areas of maritime security, food security and maritime transport.

Essien said the new approach would help the ex-agitators break away from the fetters of dependency and crime, adding that PANDEF was happy that some beneficiaries were recently engaged by PAP into its workforce.

Describing the development as exemplary, Essien said it would help to allay people’s fears over the employability and demeanour of ex-agitators and encourage other agencies and departments of government, as well as the private sector, to employ the beneficiaries.

Addressing Dikio, Essien said: “Your assignment is of great importance to the Niger Delta. Whatever happens here has a huge ripple effect on the region and would help to either sustain or hamper the relative peace in the region.

“Fortunately, as we stated in our letter to you, we are pleased with the report of a paradigm shift in the administration and operations of the Presidential Amnesty Programme since you took over.”

In his response, Dikio harped on the need for partnership saying more positive results would be achieved if all stakeholders worked as a team. 

He said the conversation on the Niger Delta Recovery Plan must be broadened and that other aspects of the training must be explored, especially in the oil and gas sector, food and agriculture, maritime security and marine transport. 

He also stressed that delegates needed to be strategically empowered with authentic certifications to enable them compete with counterparts in other parts of the country.

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