The Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), has thrown his weight behind the war on illegal refineries across the Niger Delta region.
A statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media to Dikio, Mr Nneotabase Egbe, quoted him as giving his endorsement at the weekend in Port Harcourt while speaking at the 50th anniversary dinner and award night of the Port Harcourt Polo Club.
Dikio applauded the move by Gov Nyesom Wike to stamp out illegal refineries in Rivers, saying that Wike’s efforts should be complemented by all stakeholders in the region.
He said illegal refineries were not the only cause of the environmental devastation in the region, insisting that other harmful practices were also responsible for polluting the environment.
“I commend the Rivers state Governor, Wike, for taking on the issue of illegal oil refineries also known as kpofire head on.
“But, a lot of work still needs to be done. Kpofire is not the only pollutant and so individually and collectively what are we doing, especially the corporate entities to reduce unwanted emissions into our environment?” Dikio asked.
Dikio also urged the people of the region to stop bickering over the percentage in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), saying that opportunities would be created for future negotiation.
“I will say that instead of quarrelling about the percentage, we should be talking about what to do with the percentage we got, build on it and we can have another discussion after that.” Dikio said.
While reinforcing the PAP’s Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) model, Dikio said in the next 10 years, the Niger Delta should have a critical mass that would make people of the region competitive in all spheres.
He said: “We’re looking for partnership with businesses that can train these ex-agitators and give them the required skills for employment in their businesses.
“We in PAP will pay for the training. It is a partnership because we want those who train them to guarantee that they will employ them.
“We are doing this as a departure from the old model which only trained people and put them back in the bloated unemployment market. We feel that is a waste of money and everybody’s time. It also increases the anxiety level in the economy and the polity.”
Earlier, the Chief Host, King Alfred Diette-Spiff, said the game of Polo was catching up in the South-South, noting that contrary to what many people thought, Polo was no longer an elite game.
On his part, President of the Port Harcourt Polo Club, Mr. Chukwudi Dimkpa, said from its humble beginning in 1972, the club has grown to become the preferred Polo club in Nigeria and Africa.
The highpoint of the event was the presentation of awards and the launch and fund raising for the Arena Polo Turf and Children Riding School.