From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Interim Administrator; Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col Milland Dixon Dikio, has disclosed that delegates of the programme will henceforth be trained to dominate the maritime sector, agriculture and other areas of comparative advantage in the Niger Delta region.
Dikio said it has become expedient for beneficiaries of PAP to get actively involved in activities and empowerment programmes that would guarantee food security of the region and the country.
The interim administrator, in a speech he delivered at the Convocation Investiture Ceremony of the Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State, said it was risky to continue depending on other regions for food supply.
‘We are also looking at food security. Most of the foods we eat come from other places. If the supply chain is cut off, it means you starve and without food security, you don’t have any security,’ he said.
Dikio insisted that the Niger Delta has comparative advantage in the maritime sector saying it was time the ex-agitators take control of all the opportunities in the sector.
He said the PAP under his administration would train, empower and mentor beneficiaries to defend the economy against the old system of doling out handouts and abandoning the trainees to their fate.
According to him, to develop the Niger Delta region, stakeholders must pay attention to manpower development adding that people should de-emphasise on protest as a means of agitation.
‘There are unique attributes of the Niger Delta. Can we train, empower people to dominate the maritime economy? We can because it is an area where we have comparative advantage. It is a huge industry out there that we need to dominate. We are going to rethink what we are doing to reflect the areas of comparative advantage and mastery so we can dominate those areas effectively,’ he said.
‘The maritime industry is dominated by people from South East Asia and they don’t even have enough people. Lagos has a huge market. We are going to partner with people who have the wherewithal to put their feet down to dominate the maritime sector.’
He said protests heightened tension in the region and discouraged investors adding that such practice should be replaced with advocacy for excellence.
‘We have over the time become known as a region of people who are constantly protesting. During my maiden tour, we emphasised that a toxic environment is antithetical to development.
‘You cannot have industries established in environment where there is constant uproar. I challenge you scholars to adopt a new approach to protest which is advocacy of excellence.’
Describing former Goodluck Jonathan as an epitome of excellence, Dikio appealed to scholars to emulate the sterling qualities of the former president.