From: MAGNUS EZE, Abuja
The Federal Government, on Thursday, said that the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) was fully on course and has, in the last one year, produced about 1,135 graduates in foreign and Nigerian universities with 34 of them bagging First Class degrees.
PAP Coordinator and Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), who disclosed this at a media interaction, in Abuja, also said that 1294 delegates were deployed to Nigerian universities during the 2015/2016 academic year.
Boroh stated that 20 of the first class were in various courses in the United Kingdom while 14 were in Nigeria, adding that 84 and 41 others got second class upper division respectively in Nigeria and UK.
He noted that four of the ex-agitators who bagged first class were so outstanding that the Benson Idahosa University, Benin gave them automatic employment as academic staff. They include; Fianka Tamara (Computer Science), Ikpaazaere Debrah (Business Admin), Odiki Otogo (Pol. Science/Pub Admin) and Boleidowa Lucky (Pol. Science/Pub Admin).
He explained that the exceptional performance of the students was because the amnesty office supported the sustainability of academic success by encouraging and monitoring them, pointing out that a 24-hr call centre was established to serve them.
The presidential aide said that the office working closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs placed the students under the supervision of Nigerian High Commission in the countries where they studied.
Boroh disclosed that this had drastically reduced the international embarrassment the nation had faced over the years because of complaints from the beneficiaries of the programme abroad.
He further said that his office was reaching out to agencies and corporate bodies to secure employment for the beneficiaries; having submitted lists of beneficiaries to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Local Content Board and Ministry of State, Aviation for beneficiaries who specialised in maritime, oil and gas as well as aviation.
Boroh however, said that the period under review was tough for both the office and beneficiaries as they had to contend with achieving much with little resources.
“Perhaps, our greatest achievement is contributing to the maintenance of peace in the Niger Delta which has resulted in zero vandalism of oil and gas facilities. The winning strategy is President Muhamadu Buhari’s hands-on approach to the region; the visit of the Vice President which has taken him to most of the oil producing states, with the full participation of the state governments and people,” he stated.