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Niger Delta: Why Amnesty Office redesigned scholarship scheme to focus on STEM

The Office of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) has redesigned its scholarship scheme to focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, not only to align the manpower needs of the Niger Delta to present realities,, but also because the region must field its best to compete with other ethnic nationalities in the country.

The Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Col. Milland Dikio (retd.), who stated this recently when he visited the Ijaw National Congress headquarters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said  he was stunned by the discovery of huge misapplication of human and material resources upon his assumption office.

According to him, a quality education-driven survey he carried out on the types of schools that beneficiaries of the PAP’s scholarship scheme were sent to in the past led to the discovery of the anomaly.

The PAP boss, who noted that the humanities were also important, said, “When I came on board, I saw quite a lot of misapplication of human and material resources and so, we started asking the question: Are we getting the best for our people?

“For example, when we carried out a survey of the universities we sent our beneficiaries to, only two came within the first 100. So, if the likes of our heroes like Isaac Boro went to the best schools in Nigeria, how come we are paying good money to send our children to poor schools?”

Dikio further said the PAP master’s degree scholarship scheme would be focused on raising people, who possessed the skills to belong to “the boardroom” and participate effectively in decision-making.

The PAP Boss and his team was welcomed by the INC President, Prof Benjamin Okaba, who said Dikio had provided a paradigm shift through his style and disposition.

Why FG is intensifying Peace Efforts in Niger Delta – Amnesty Boss, Dikio

With the visit of the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dikio (retd), to Gbaramatu, Delta State, last Monday as part of his ‘back to the region tour’, the Federal Government is ramping up peace efforts in the Niger Delta.

The Interim Administrator, Col Dikio, had visited the Pere of Gbaramatu, His Royal Majesty Ogboro Gbaraun II Aketekpe, and other key stakeholders of the kingdom in the company of the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt.Hon. Abraham Ingobere and top officials of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

Dikio reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to the sustenance of peace in the region during his visit, adding that the PAP under his leadership recognizes the pivotal role of the traditional institutions and the need to partner effectively with them in peace building and mitigating violence within their domain.

“My visit today to your kingdom is in continuation of my tour to the region. I am here today to underscore the importance of the traditional institution to peace building and the mitigation of conflicts. We want to partner with the traditional institution to ensure the sustenance of peace in our region,” he said.

In his response, the Pere of Gbaranmatu Kingdom, Oboro Gbaraun II, lauded the Interim Administrator for the visit, while assuring him of the support of his kingdom to PAP to deliver on its mandate of securing peace and development within the kingdom.

The Monarch sought the support of the PAP’s helmsman to help improve the lot of the people of Gbaranmatu Kingdom through the provision of skill acquisition, employment and any other opportunities.

The monarch lamented that his kingdom had suffered terribly over the years from what he described as “failed and empty promises” from the Federal Government.

He stressed that the unfulfilled promises have made Gbaranmatu to become synonymous with crises arising from youth restiveness.

He said: “ Traditional rulers are the people that can help to maintain the peace of the region but if help is not forthcoming or promises are not fulfilled by the government, there is nothing they as traditional rulers can do to stop the people from reacting negatively which may lead to the disruption of peace in the region.”

He implored Dikio as a son of the of Niger-Delta whose track record as an accomplished military officer, a first class administrator with a reputation for integrity to ensure that the PAP is able to achieve its mandate in the region.

Presidential Amnesty Programme To Prosecute Erring Staff, Contractors

The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) says it has uncovered unsavoury acts of fraud perpetrated by some vendors/contractors. The office is currently investigating these activities to determine how widespread and the extent of involvement or connivance with internal elements within the programme.

According to a statement signed by the Interim Administrator, PAP, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), “while this investigation is ongoing, it will not stop the payment of those whose contracts and documents have been verified and reconciled as soon as the expected funds are released.”

The statement further read, “However, It will be recalled that before the close of the year 2020, the Presidential Amnesty Programme had sequentially paid a minimum of 104 contractors that had hitherto been owed. This process will continue until everyone is paid what they are owed, subject to the availability of funds.

“It must be noted that while the continuing process is evidence of the PAP’s commitment to its mandate which covers the delegates, the investigations will continue to ascertain the issues that gave rise to this allegation.

“Meanwhile vendors/contractors whose contracts have not been revalidated, have not received an approval to self-fund or been mobilized for their respective contracts are advised to suspend and maintain the status quo.”

Our Next Target is Job Creation for Niger Deltans – Dokubo

The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Prof. Charles Dokubo, has said that creation of job opportunities for Niger Deltans that have been trained under the Presidential Amnesty Programme, will be vigorously pursued this year.

According to a Vanguard report, Dokubo who is also Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), stated this during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja.

Dokubo categorically stated that priority would be given to creating jobs for the people of the Niger Delta to ease their burden and ensure that marginalization in the region becomes a thing of the past.

His statement, “Job placement is the next stage of my plan for this year and I believe that if we can achieve that, we are going to do well. The people of the Niger Delta will not cry their old cries again that they have been marginalized.”

“The amount of money government has spent on this programme is a lot and I know that if we judiciously expend it, most people from Niger Delta will benefit immensely. I want this programme to be a success, if not, our children yet unborn will keep asking us what we have done for them if we say we have fought for Niger Delta.

“This tale about being deprived should not be something we should keep saying. We have been given access. No part of Nigeria has more agencies than the Niger Delta. Now that we have these things, I implore the people of Niger Delta to know that the sky is their beginning if they will work when they are given a job” He said.