By Emmanuel Elebeke & Grace Udofia
The Federal Government through the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, Monday entered into a strategic partnership with the United States’ Agency for International Development, USAID, to train and empower youths of the Niger Delta region.
Speaking at a forum in Abuja, Mr. Paul Boroh, Coordinator and Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on the Amnesty Programme, said he is looking forward to a great partnership with USAID.
He further stated that the Federal Government will ensure that the partnership succeeds, and also see to it that the development plan in the Niger Delta see the light of day.
Also speaking, Mr. Michael Harvey, leader of the delegation from USAID, stated that the organisation would empower the youths to be able to utilise the huge resources in the region to advantage, especially in the area of agriculture.
However, he disclosed that the challenges that would hinder the smooth operation of the partnership would be in getting the governors in the region to do the right thing, stating that a number of infrastructures in the country are not functioning.
He said, ‘’Firstly, I encourage you to create partnership with the state governors to make the transformation real and we will get involved to move your economy in the right direction. We are compensating for the failure of the state and systems.
“Our programmes will show our response to the environment to boost our concern and support for the people of the region.
He encouraged the governors of the region to make sure the abandoned infrastructures are revived and put to full use.
‘’We assure you that with all these in place, in the next four years the economic transformation will be beneficial to all,” he noted.
Continuing, Harvey stated that the partnership would focus on the production of rice and aquaculture, adding that it also intends to expand its frontiers to other areas.
Also speaking Mr. Tari Dortimi, Head of the Post Amnesty Programme stated that the aim of the Amnesty programme is to deepen the peace in the Niger Delta to attract investors.
According to him, so far, about 30,000 people have been trained through various programmes both formal and informal and in various fields such as telecommunication, agriculture, oil and gas, catering, maritime, automobile, among others, adding that about 206 persons have graduated so far and in few weeks time the number is going to increase to about 508.
He said, “Furthermore, we make sure some of our partners, like Samsung, Schlumberger and the Federal Civil Service employ the delegates after the programme. Currently 32 delegates have been sent for building and construction project in Cote D’Ivoire.
He called on the Federal Government to engage these people with something meaningful and gainful.
He said ‘’If guns have been taken away from the hands of the militant they should be able to engage the same hands in something meaningful.”
He encouraged USAID to partner more with them to achieve their goals, especially in carrying out agricultural credit enhancement programme intervention, like it did in Afghanistan.