The Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), said amnesty programme has aided efforts to achieve peace in the Niger Delta, resulting in zero pipeline vandalism.
Boroh, also the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, disclosed this to newsmen on Thursday in Abuja.
He said the programme had not only succeeded in helping to stabilise the region, but had also worked in synergy with all government agencies.
He listed the agencies as Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Local Content Board, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and Ministries such as the Niger Delta Niger Affairs, Agriculture and Environment.
According to him, the programme has also domesticated most of its education and training programmes in order to ensure sustainability, development of local organisations and conservation of funds and foreign exchange.
“Perhaps the greatest impact we have created in the last one year is the reorientation of beneficiaries to agriculture and aquaculture as an alternative to revamp the ailing economy.
“Presently, we have youths undergoing advanced agriculture technological training in these fields while various state governments in the region have made lands available to us for extensive farming or have promised to do so.
“Our Model Farming Initiative is designed to provide 5,000 sustainable jobs in the region; to key into Mr President’s programme of creating employment and wealth through farming as well as ensuring food security,” he said.
Boroh said the winning strategy was President Muhammadu Buhari’s hands-on approach to the region.
The coordinator noted that the visits of the Vice President to most oil producing states, with the full participation of the state governments and people, is a winning formula.
He explained that the visits had solidified the relationship between the region and the present administration.
Speaking on the 2015/2016 academic year programme, he said the office deployed 1,294 delegates to various universities in the Nigeria.
“We have recorded 681 graduates with 14 of them graduating with First Class and 84 with Second Class Upper.
“In fact, the Benson Idahosa University retained four of our students as lecturers, who had First Class.
The coordinator said that the performance of the students abroad was even more stunning.
“A total of 454 of them graduated mainly from British universities with 20 graduating with First Class and 41 with Second Class Upper.
“Also, we have ensured the effective management of our students abroad through the collaboration of the Amnesty Office and our embassies and High Commissions,” he said.
Boroh said that this had led to remarkable reduction in students. agitations.
According to him, from 2015 to 2016, the programme deployed 1,603 delegates to Training Centres across the country, where 1,230 of them graduated.
The coordinator said that a total 196 delegates are currently in training, but regrettably, the training of 177 of them is on hold due to logistical reasons.
Boroh said that during the period under review, the Amnesty Office empowered 1,453 delegates with various starter-packs including shop rents, while 966 of them were taken through refresher training,” he added.
Speaking on the challenges of the programme, he said the programme had faced inadequate funding, resulting in failure to pay tuition fees of local and international students as and when due.
“These are mainly in the UK, USA, Philippines, Belarus and South Africa.
“Also, training in most of the vocation centres had stopped and thus affecting 1,770 delegates.
“This has led to the swell in the number of those projected to be trained in 2017 which was 4,770 persons.
“Inadequate funding has also limited the capacity of the Office to empower delegates and exit them from the Programme,” he said.