The interim administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (retd), has unveiled his plan for ex-agitators, saying he will focus on wealth creation leveraging on partnerships that will have positive effects on the economy of the Niger Delta and the country.
He said having laid the foundation in his first one year with his outlined vision, the time for action had come to produce the desired result for the benefit of all.
Speaking at separate meetings with leaders of first and third phases of the PAP in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, Dikio said his quest to leave a strong legacy was driven by his passion for the development of the region.
The amnesty boss in a statement signed at the weekend by his Special Adviser Nneotaobase Egbe, encouraged the ex-agitators to strive to see beyond the monthly stipends, to the economic opportunities around them.
He said: “Within the short time I have, we will change things for the better. That is why we have changed the model of trainings that you get to the Train-Employ-Mentor model. The kind of trainings that will make you self-sufficient and qualified to have a job that you will be paid far above the N65,000; trainings that will bring more value to you”.
The PAP boss disclosed that there were plans for a summit in Warri, Delta State where the delegates will be taught how to grow and manage businesses, and also highlight the opportunities in the city and the region in general.
According to Dikio, the Niger Delta remained the richest place in the country not because of oil and gas but its natural endowment, such as human capital, farm produce and fisheries, domiciled across the region and waiting to be explored by willing hands.
He said: “We have to be competitive in the water business and take advantage of the blue economy. The Niger Delta is blessed with a lot of opportunities and we need to take charge.
“We are organizing a summit in Warri soon. Warri used to be the oil city with lots of activities but now it has become like a ghost town. We want to highlight what the city has, its economic importance and also for entrepreneurial purpose. We have to do everything possible to bring back businesses to the region.”
“I keep saying this that if you are not providing service you can’t be rich. Once you have what you are offering and when you are able to take care of yourself, nobody can insult you”.
In his remarks, leader of the first phase ex-agitators and National President of the Leadership, Peace, and Cultural Development Initiative (LPCDI), Pastor Reuben Wilson, thanked Dikio for restoring their confidence in the PAP.
He said in the past the programme was managed like a personal estate with the beneficiaries grossly shortchanged while others became billionaires but with the coming of Dikio “we now have hope because of the new vision”.
In their remarks, national chairman and secretary of the third phase, Tonye Bobo and Elaye Slaboh, said in the last one year they had not embarked on any form of protest because of what Dikio had done to change their mindset.
They said in the past street protests were regular for them but didn’t know that it was de-marketing the region and driving away businesses.
The leaders made a number of requests including leadership training and empowerment, education and vocational training, and setting up liaison office in Bayelsa.