The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) has commenced a process of constituting ex-agitators into cooperative societies to enable them own, manage their businesses and live above the N65, 000 stipends.
Over 60 delegates of ex-agitators selected for the pilot survey of the programme attended a workshop on modalities to own and run cooperatives organised by PAP in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Monday.
The Interim Administrator of PAP, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), who declared the workshop open said his office had commenced a process of making ex-agitators self-reliant, entrepreneurs and employers of labour.
He said the essence of the event tagged, one day sensitisation seminar for the cooperative society, was to expose amnesty beneficiaries to the numerous resources and opportunities in their environment and help them create solutions that would make them financially independent.
He said: “We are starting a process of making our ex-agitators self-reliant, entrepreneurs and by extension employers of labour. We want to open their minds to see the numerous resources that are available in their environment and how adding value will make them become financially self-reliant”.
Describing them as the apostles of the initiative, he asked them to toe the path of one their leaders, Bibopre Ajube, who rejected the stipend and chose to run businesses, which had arguably made him one of the richest of the ex-agitators.
He said instead of being obsessed with monthly stipends, beneficiaries should think about providing solutions on three areas of food security, maritime security and maritime transport.
He recalled that the entire Niger Delta area was once referred to as the Oil Rivers Protectorate because of its endowment in oil palm and palm kernel.
He told the ex-agitators that palm trees had not stopped growing in the region, appealing to them to think of creating value with such natural resources to create wealth.
Addressing them, he said: “When you form partnership, you become stronger. There is a spirit behind coming together. Stop making excuses to remain where you are. We want to see you rob your minds together. Develop business ideas. If you start in six months you will be shocked. Your lives will change.”
The facilitator of the workshop and Team Lead/CEO, Grand Renaissance International Ltd, Obinnaya Uruakpa, engaged the ex-agitators in pep talks and taught them sources of making and managing money.