By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-Excited by the successful completion of the educational and vocational pursuits of the ex-agitators from the Niger-Delta region, Vice president Yemi Osinbajo has said that their future was now brighter.
Osinbajo spoke at the presidential dinner organized in honor of over 200 graduates and beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programmes at the Old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja Wednesday night.
The beneficiaries were trained as pilots, automobile and electric transformer technicians among other skills both in Nigeria and in foreign universities.
The Vice president who congratulated the graduands urged them to keep away from blowing up the oil pipelines, stressing that it had large negative effect on them, their region, the country and even the generations yet unborn.
He noted that government had, by the Programme, given them an opportunity to harness their God-given potentials and urged them to pass the skill they have acquired to others too.
He said: “The fact that you did so well was a tremendous opportunity for other people. We all have the responsibility to ensure that the future of the country is secured. That cannot happen under an atmosphere of conflict.
“There is no point blowing up pipelines. If they are blown up, all of us are the losers at the end of the day including the upcoming ones.
“This is more of a programme for giving the young people an opportunity to succeed. That’s the reason why we are doing the various vocational trainings all over the country.
“The future is here and your time has come. Just looking at you guys, I just know that the future is bright. I see you becoming the great people that God has made you to be.
“Someone somewhere has to give a helping hand, this is one way we must remind ourselves that as human beings, we must provide opportunity for one another. Your story is a story of success.”
In his welcome remarks earlier, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd) stated that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to securing the Niger Delta region and to giving the youths in the area an opportunity to excel.
“The President is fully committed to the development of Amnesty Programme in the Niger-Delta region. The programme has provided a platform for engagements. Nigeria is celebrated and rated as one of the big countries today because of the achievements of our illustrious graduates”, he said
He added that some of the beneficiaries who majored in automobile were able to build a 30 feet coaster bus even as he called on some other agitators to join the programme.
According to him, “They manufactured 30 feet luxurious bus at Innoson Motors from the beginning to the end.
“I wish to call on other agitators to join the programme. Violence is never the best way to achieving anything. You must all submit to peace in the Niger Delta area”.
One of the First class graduates, Alexander Obiechna who spoke on behalf of other graduands thanked the president for the programme. He also called on the government to sustain the programme in order to accommodate other ex-agitators”.
Speaking in an interview with Journalists, the King of Teuo Brass in Bayelsa, His Royal Majesty, Diette Spiff and Chairman of Innoson Motors, Mr. Chukwu Innoson expressed their gratitude to God and President Buhari. According to Spiff, “We are accepting the opportunity with open hearts. These young men and women are blazing the trail.”
Out of the 260 outstanding graduands, 45 graduated with first class while 171 graduated with Second-Class upper Division.