How Amnesty Training Works
THE Presidential Amnesty Programme has to start taking responsibility for its short-comings. At the moment, it thinks that others are to blame for lapses in its activities, some of which bring the programme to disrepute.
Last December, 67 students that it sent for skills training at a school in Larnaca, Cyprus, were withdrawn – after the discovery that the school had no accreditation for the courses it was offering the students.
Is the Amnesty Office apologising for the mistake? No, rather it is preparing to put the students through another set of tests, to determine who among them would be eligible for placement elsewhere. What happens to those who fail the new tests? There are no answers.
Things are even a bit more bizarre, the students since their return had been kept in the dark about their future. The Amnesty Office is blaming the contractor who enlisted the school for the failed programme in Cyprus. The students went to the school in 2011.
If trainees had concluded the training, they would have returned with certificates that prospective employers would have rejected. Their time has been wasted and nobody is discussing recovering the money from the vendor who sold the fake programme to the Amnesty Office. Is that how government money is wasted? How would such vendors be deterred if they know they would get away with their deeds?
The unexplained maltreatment of the returnee trainees is another cause for concern. Why would the trainees be subjected to another round of tests as if they were responsible for their placement in a fake school? Were they, like the school, found unsuitable for the courses they were studying? What would be their fate now that they would not be trained, after promises of training and an aborted one in Cyprus?
Mr. Daniel Alabra spokesman for the Amnesty Office mouthed an explanation. “It is true that the students were brought back when we discovered that the school was not accredited, principally to save them from avoidable problems.
“We cannot allow them to waste their precious time and return with worthless certificates and be stranded in Nigeria. That is why we are doing our best to sort their problems out once and for all.”
Nice as this sounded, “doing our best to sort their problems out once and for all,” does not appear to include ensuring that all the trainees who retuned from Cyprus would be given another chance to be saved “from avoidable problems”.
The Amnesty Office should do two things quickly: get all the returnees back to school and make the vendor return the payment for the fake school, to save itself “from avoidable problems”.