Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), said it has trained and graduated over 20,000 former militants.
It also said 3,243, persons are still in training, 5,578 others awaiting training, while 4,437 persons have so far been empowered.
Similarly the PAP has identified lack of coherent development implementation strategy, concerted and coordinated framework for action and limited accountability in managing development results as some of the reasons responsible for the violence in the Niger Delta region.
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Prof. Charles Dokubo, who made this known, in Abuja, also attributed discontinuity in government, gross inadequate funding, white elephant projects and duplication, official recklessness and corruption, lack of political will and commitments and exclusion of civil society as being responsible for incessant crises in the region.
In his lecture titled ‘Youth Empowerment and National Defence in Nigeria: Niger Delta Amnesty Programme in perspective’, he delivered at the National Defence College, in Abuja, Dokubio said all these have further resulted in too many unfinished projects, breakdown in the relationship between citizens and states as well as armed conflict triggered by perceived sense of injustice.
He said of the 2,577, being empowered by the programme, about 1,060 are currently on admission in about 10 universities both private and government, while 1,517, others are studying in over 50 universities in Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States of America.
Dokubo maintained that knowledge and education remain key factors to the full and effective participation of youths in the process of social, economic and political development.
His words, “What education does to the youth is that it gives them the knowledge, capacities, skills and ethical values needed to fulfill their roles as agents of developing, good governance, social inclusion, tolerance and peace”.
That, notwithstanding, Dokubo said the PAP also places a high priority on skills acquisition and knowledge components, thus 18,602, persons have received various vocational skills in specialised courses in aviation, oils and gas/maritime, heavy duty operations, ICT, HSE Boat Building, welding and fabrication, agriculture, sports, among others.
He further stated that, “At the moment, 217 delegates are currently undergoing vocational/skills acquisition training in-country, while 20 delegates are currently undergoing specialised aviation training at NCAT.”
On the security of the region, Prof. Dokubo, who said that military might alone can not solve the unrests in the Niger Delta especially when the region is primarily the source of wealth of the nation, noted that the causes of the unrest had remained unresolved.
“The Niger delta region is primarily the source of Nigeria foreign earnings it is also the region in West Africa.
“That notwithstanding, ever since the discovery of crude oil, the region has remained the least developed part of the country in both physical and socio-economic terms.
“The question of the causes of conflicts in the Niger Delta region has remained unresolved, The consequences are that the region now poses great threat and challenges to the country’s development and survival.
“This is because human issues of human security and development within the region were exceedingly neglected and the minorities in their situation constituted a nuisance to the Nigerian State.
“As evident in the region also, too many weapons fell into dangerous hands and made it impossible for small groups and militants like the Avengers, Bakassi Boys, Niger Delta People Volunteer Movement, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, the Ijaw National Volunteer Force, Niger Delta Vigilante, among others, to marshal formidable firepower which over time, perpetuated perennial crisis between communities and the government and military-nationals, between militant youths and their communities, government and multinationals and between the militia group themselves”.