The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the Presidential Amnesty Programme have begun to work together towards creating employment opportunities in the Oil and Gas Industry for ex-militants who have undergone specialized training programmes.
The Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Ernest Nwapa and the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Mr. Kingsley Kuku confirmed this in Abuja while speaking at the just concluded Nigerian Oil and Gas Conference. Mr. Kuku was represented at the event by his Special Assistant, Mr. Lawrence Pepple
Over 1,498 ex-militants underwent various training programmes in foreign locations such as South Africa, Ghana, Cyprus, Dubai, with some of them specializing in practical Oil and Gas disciplines.
Confirming the collaboration, the Executive Secretary said the Board is working with all stakeholders of the industry under the strong leadership of the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke to domicile more work in-country and deepen the capacity of the local supply chain to execute complex industry work, thereby creating more opportunities for employment of qualified Nigerians.
Nwapa stated that major operating companies, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation cannot employ more than 50,000 Nigerians as they had outsourced most of their operations, adding however that the industry was capable of creating thousands of jobs through the execution of its jobs in-country.
“We are pulling the industry together because they have capacity to create new shop floors and it is only where there are jobs that training can thrive and succeed,” he said.
He identified the manufacturing of components of various equipment used by the industry as the segment that will unlock thousands of productive job opportunities for young Nigerians, including ex-militants.
The Executive Secretary further advised that “When the ex-militants come back, they should not be kept together. Instead, we will take them in twos or threes and inject them into projects as ordinary Nigerians, without them having tags as ex-militants.
Nwapa also counseled the Amnesty Office to manage the expectations of the ex-militants about the Oil and Gas industry, indicating that “contracts in the Oil and Gas industry run for 18 to 20 months, after which companies start disengaging workers who will be expected to seek fresh employment in companies that have got new projects.”
“We need to increase shop floor space and encourage manufacturing through the help of the international operating companies. We also need to educate the ex-militants that their employment lies in the manufacturing facilities.”
According to the Executive Secretary, the ex-militants and other young Nigerians would also benefit from the Capacity Building Internship Programme, which the Board had begun with the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN).
Under the programme, PETAN will recruit qualified Nigerians and expose them to various training and skills development workshops and on-the-job training to prepare them to work in the course of contracts and gain employment.
PETAN companies will then absorb the trainees once they win the contracts and retain them after the internship phase based on their performance.
In his comments, Mr. Lawrence Pepple harped on the need to provide employment opportunities for the ex-militants after their training, to ensure that they do not slip back into nefarious activities.
He warned that if the militants were not properly engaged, the next phase of militancy will be fused with intellect and skills because the ex-militants are being trained in the best facilities on shipbuilding and maintenance, welding and fabrication etc.
He said, “Although they may not be properly certified, they can be made to learn on the job and become better. If you don’t give them jobs when they return, they will be more sophisticated and this will be a very serious problem.”
Admitting the guidance they receive from the Executive Secretary, Pepple pleaded with the industry to guide the Amnesty Office on what is required to meet their standards.
He also confirmed that the Amnesty Office had uploaded the database of trained ex-militants unto the Nigerian Content Joint Qualification System.