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30,000 ex-Niger Delta beneficiaries commend administration for implementation of programmes

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By Akpan David, Calabar 

The 30,000 beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Program (PAP) Phase II have commended the current administration of the project, saying it has implemented the programme better.

However, at a one-day event in Calabar, they called for sustained implementation of the scholarship initiative as well as the recently initiated cooperative programme,  which are additions to the PAP.

At the interactive workshop, leaders of Niger Delta Ex-agitators lauded the efforts of Maj. Gen. Barry Ndiomu (rtd) and President Bola Tinubu for the reforms in the  PAP being  implemented by the current PAP Management.

Spokesman of the Ex-agitators leaders’ forum, Ibena Rufus, who is also a beneficiary, noted that the PAP has made a lot of progress. 

He noted that the area that gave previous administrators of PAP a huge challenge was reintegration which the current Interim Administrator has addressed creatively and competently.

Ibena recalled that the PAP started with disarmament and demobilization which were successful but ran into issues when it got to the reintegration aspect.

“Previous administrator could not tackle issues of reintegration but the current administrator has demonstrated capacity and resilience to tackle it.”

He commended the Interim Administrators for restructuring the program and taking it back to the people.

Also speaking, Olutu Wanemi the Chairman of PAP phase two, said none of the PAP administrators thought of empowering the entire 30,000 beneficiaries of the program before the coming of the present interim administrator.

He said the Cooperative Initiative introduced by the Interim Administrator is a welcome development.

His words, “None of the leaders had earlier thought of empowering the entire 30,000 beneficiaries but we were shocked when the Interim Administrator came on board and introduced the cooperative scheme to accommodate everybody.

“This is a welcome development for the beneficiaries and the right thing to be done and I appeal that current Interim Administrator should be reappointed by the President”, he said.

In his position, Corinne Hart, another delegate in the meeting said with the reforms in place, things are getting better. Adding that, within the past year, over 80% of the issues in the program have been addressed and this is reflected in the relative peace in the region.

“The Amnesty program was not really working for many leaders but recently with our brother there, we are beginning to feel the impact of the Amnesty Program.

“Almost 80% of the issues in the office have been handled by the current interim administrator and he has been harmonizing the leaders, talking with them, and doing the necessary things that should be done, we commend President Tinubu for this ”, he said.

Earlier, the Interim Administrator of the Program, Major General Barry Tariye Ndiomu,, said the essence of the program is to interact and discuss with the stakeholders  who are beneficiaries of several reform interventions in the Niger Delta Region .

Ndiomu who was represented by Major Marshall Akpor, the Agency Liaison Officer, said the PAP wants to hear from the delegates and other stakeholders in order to get their feedback to improve on the program.

He disclosed that the Presidential Amnesty Cooperative Society Limited is aimed at giving an alternative livelihood to the Ex agitators and also the platform created for scholarships is aimed at ensuring that only real delegates benefit from the scheme.

The Head of the Reintegration program of PAP, Mr. Wilfred Musa disclosed that under the PAP scholarship scheme, over 10,000 have benefited since its inception and there is a monitoring and follow-up initiative on beneficiaries. “So far a good number have graduated and have taken jobs in different places,” he said.

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