Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state has advocated a re-appraisal of the training scheme offered to the Niger Delta Ex-militants under the Presidential Amnesty Programme to enable them deploy the knowledge gained for self sustainability and economic development.
The Governor made the advocacy during his interaction with the Coordinator of the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme who called on him at the Government House, Uyo.
He said the training offered through the programme does not address the local content demands of the Nigerian society especially in the oil bearing Communities and that the trainees find it hard to bring their knowledge to bear with the available opportunities in the Oil Industry.
The Governor suggested a liaison with the National Directorate of Employment for the development of the scheme stating that the ex-militants would be trained in line with the manpower needs of the Nigerian society.
He said, as a practical step towards reintegrating the exmilitants, motivational talks should be used to encourage them to earn a living rather than engage in agitations and called on the Companies operating in the Coastal Communities to device modalities for dialogue to address issues of environmental degradation which he said are the root causes of their agitation.
The Governor, who traced the relative peace enjoyed in the area to the stipends paid to the agitators, stressed the need for them to be encouraged to earn a living rather than rely on government stipends which may not come too often and in their frustration, might go back to the creeks.
Governor Emmanuel however frowned at the delay in meeting the welfare of the ex-militants and said that such inconsistency in payment of the stipend account for the sporadic attacks on market women in the coastal communities and particularly condemned the recent attempt by the agitators to blow off the Calabar-Itu Bridge.
He endorsed the Coordinator’s decision to establish offices in the Niger Delta states and said that the decision would bring about easy channelisation of grievances for ready solutions to their demands. Earlier, the Coordinator, Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul Boro, said they were in the state to seek collaboration towards the successful Disengagement, Disarmament and Reintegration of the ex-militants.
-Iniobong Ekponta, Uyo