Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Professor Charles Dokubo, has said the programme is focused on establishment of vocational training centres in the Niger Delta and job creation for former militants.
Dokubo disclosed this to newsmen, in Abuja, at the weekend, against the backdrop of his one-year anniversary.
He added that training former militants and empowering them will help create jobs in the Niger Delta as well as impact on the country’s economy, in the long run; rather than depend on monthly stipends.
The PAP coordinator also clarified that the PAP warehouse looted in Kaiama, Bayelsa State, belongs to the entire region and not the community in which it is situated.
Said Dokubo: “Offices are established everywhere in the Niger Delta. No office is assigned to a particular person because the person comes from a particular community. If you have been given a job to do and you are ineffective, in every office they can sack people. That you are born to a family, and the family is a known family, that does not entitle you to that job forever. So, we have to put it in context. If someone from that place was removed and someone from another Niger Delta area was used to replace the person removed, there shouldn’t have been a conflict about that unless the person that was removed was instrumental to the destruction of Kaiama. I am from Rivers State, from Abonemma. I am here, today, in the Amnesty Office because I am from Niger Delta. Others from other parts of Niger Delta have been given this office before; this office belongs to everybody from Niger Delta and the assignments and appointments are just like that. If you have done your bit, we cannot keep you there forever, because, sometimes, since you are a native, you have also gone more native and you begin to feel a sense of entitlement because of the name you bear…
“Having a facility in a town does not give ownership to that community. I asked them, ‘what if there was a foreign invasion of this place, will you stop them, or will you join them because it is your own? I told them there because I was ashamed to be a Niger Delta person.
“…We are changing the dependence on stipends and training those who will work and earn money and that is why a vocational training centre in all states of the Niger Delta will be established. After that, we can go back and sleep with two eyes closed.
“When I came from the Institute of International Affairs, I did not know that this office was so conflictual, and, there is also that sense of entitlement from a particular group of people who believe that this office belongs to them. I am more Niger Deltan than any other Niger Deltan and where I come from should not used against me. If you are doing the right thing, you have blocked loopholes for people who are doing the wrong things, they will fight you. I didn’t know that this concept of “dash” has been engraved in the lives of our people.
“When I came into this office, the things I saw, I have never heard of them; coming from my background. Because somebody wants to travel, they need N5 million They call millions as if it is small money.
“I came from an academic background; if I am travelling from Lagos to Abuja, what I get is about N90, 000, sometimes, or N60, 000. That is what I get.
“Sometimes if I pay air ticket, the money will be shorter, so, I travel by road. I am not vilifying anybody but that idea; the previous people who have been here, they got used to this idea of money.
“I am not claiming to be a saint, but, I try to be the best I can, irrespective of any situation. If I am found wanting, take me to jail and nobody should cry for me. I will do my best.”