NIGER DELTA: "Providing Stipends Not Sustainable" — Ndiomu, as PAP Gears Up for ‘Legacy Project’

updated 19 Jul, 2023

The Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, Major Gen. Barry Ndiomu (rtd) has said that there is the need to strategically make PAP delegates and youths in the Niger Delta region "to have sustainable income" as the provision of stipends by the agency of government “is not sustainable.”

This coming on the heels of the PAP Interim Administrator's plan to kickstart the Presidential Amnesty Cooperative Society Scheme known as the Legacy Project, as contained in a document titled 'Presidential Amnesty Legacy Project, for Sustainable Commercial Agricultural Development Initiative' released recently by the Presidential Amnesty office and sighted by PENGlobal Community.

The scheme, according to Ndiomu, is an initiative that is “aimed at making Delegates of the program to become self-reliant, more productive, and also, to identify and take advantage of personal and business development opportunities, create personal incomes and, above all, add value to themselves and the Nigerian State, by being engaged in productive and profitable opportunities, in strategic sector of the Nigeria Economy.”

Speaking on the amnesty programme, which came on stream in 2009, Ndiomu said that the "disarmament, demobilization and reintegrating of delegates of PAP to become useful and make reasonable and value driven contributions to the Nigerian State, is and was, the mandate for the establishment of Presidential Amnesty Programme."

He noted that while the programme had, “in the last thirteen years, has successfully captured 30,000, ex-agitators, and have given skill and vocational educations to 65% of captured delegates” —an action which brought about relative peace and increase in oil production— "however, it is imperative to note that PAP providing stipends is not sustainable," Ndiomu added.

The Interim Administrator also lamented the worsening unemployment and the underemployment of youths in the region, a situation he said is making many youths to be frustrated, leading to restiveness. As such there is the need to "leverage on the skills and capacity development programmes given to delegates by transforming them into entrepreneurs.

"The project is meant to engage sustainably, Niger Delta youths, cum Beneficiaries, of the Presidential Amnesty Program to see the opportunities in sustainable value chains in agriculture, the trades, in services, building industry and take advantage of market ready opportunities. The Vision of the project is to create productive and profitable entrepreneurs, from the Presidential Amnesty Community, using the co-operative and individual business model.

"This will be achieved by implementing workable business initiatives that will support them to thrive and succeed in the many commodities the region has comparative advantages and also unlock opportunities within national and global institutions, to enhance the economic status of the beneficiaries. Thereby, this will reduce the poverty and jobless menace in the region," Ndiomu assured.

He also revealed that the program will utilize a market-system and a private-sector-driven approach, to facilitate the development and growth of commercial activities, as well as "involve supporting and developing enterprises that would drive value addition and process in the sectors," and “in addition, identifying and linking targeted beneficiaries to sustainable high value markets.”

The scheme, which kicks off in June 2023, will see the presidential amnesty office engaging with stakeholders, selection of beneficiaries of the loan scheme, and documentation while it focuses in the short term plans of capacity building, access to market and to loans. However, sensitization is ongoing with Bayelsa, Rivers, and Edo states already covered, while Delta and other states will be covered in no distant time, according to a source.

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