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Opinion: “Amnesty programme: Dokubo’s magic wand”

By Murphy Ganagana

A disarming smile is his trademark, a veritable asset that neutralizes the temperature of an environment he finds himself. For Prof. Charles Dokubo, coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, carrying a light heart creates a pleasant atmosphere for productivity to flourish and breed a fertile ground for fresh initiatives to actualize his vision for the Niger Delta.

Several years before his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari in March 2018, Dokubo had been quietly working behind the scene on finding a solution to the Niger Delta debacle, as he shared the pains of his kith and kin in Nigeria’s oil-rich region occasioned by environmental degradation, economic deprivation and abject poverty.

His expertise in dealing with regional and international conflict situations and resolution placed him on a vantage position in President Buhari’s determination to chart a new course for the Niger Delta region, and the privilege of being appointed coordinator of the Amnesty Programme provided him an opportunity to breathe a new lease of life into a people dying in installments of neglect and suffocation.

Dokubo is unwavering in actualizing President Buhari’s developmental vision for the Niger Delta with human capacity building as the focal point, using the instrumentality of the Amnesty Programme as a vehicle to achieve the objective. And he has cautiously steered the wheel on full throttle, recording landmark achievements in a year and five months.

Within a short period, he was able to not only complete, equip and activate the Oil and Gas Vocational Training Centre at Agadagba-Obon, Ondo State, but also commissioned the Basic Skills Vocational Training Centre at Boro Town, Bayelsa State. The Power and Energy Vocational Training Centre located at Bomadi, Delta State, is almost set to come on stream while work is ongoing at the Agricultural Vocational Training Centre in Gelegele, Edo State, where he performed the foundation laying ceremony on Friday, February 15.

Also dear to Dokubo’s heart in his effort to fast-track training of beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme, is the Maritime Vocational Training Centre at Oboama, Rivers State. This is apart from the establishment of a liaison office for the Presidential Amnesty Programme in Port Harcourt, the state capital, as a pilot project in his plan to locate liaison offices across all states in the Niger Delta to ease interface with beneficiaries of the programme.

In the next few weeks, 100 beneficiaries of the Programme will resume training at the Oil and Gas Training Centre at Agadagba-Obon, just as six others who had been trained in aviation and obtained their commercial pilot licenses are scheduled to undergo further training in Florida, USA, for their type-rating.

Under Dokubo’s watch, 1, 601 beneficiaries have completed training in various skills out of 4, 014 allocated to specialized training vendors, while 1,271 already trained beneficiaries have been given empowerment packs in their respective trade areas to enable them start business. The empowered beneficiaries are among 4,269 scheduled for engagement on completion of their training in various vocational skills.

While those trained acquired skills in fish and poultry farming; Greenhouse farming; tailoring and fashion design, mechanized rice farming and agribusiness; transformer repair/maintenance; pig farming, automobile, aquaculture and snail farming; shoe making/leather works, and ICT, among others, the empowered beneficiaries were on building materials, fish farming, poultry, welding, pig farming, plastic technology, electronic stores, cassava farming, commodity shop, and feed sales. The aggressive empowerment drive for beneficiaries drawn from all states in the Niger Delta is the result of efforts by Dokubo towards ensuring that already trained beneficiaries were fully engaged to fast-track development and deepen peace in the region.

Unfortunately, his uncommon leadership style and amazing achievements propelled by a commitment towards rewriting the sad narrative of the Niger Delta is discomforting for some self-acclaimed leaders of the region who had fed fat on the Amnesty Programme, and he has been at the receiving end of poisonous missiles aimed at dislocating him.

To be sure, Dokubo’s detractors are unrelenting in their efforts at throwing a spanner in the works for his effrontery in arresting the smooth flow of a food basket they had deliberately bled to swell their pockets. That sinister objective explains some fake news, fairy tales and vicious attacks on the person of Dokubo and the Amnesty Programme, with intent to blur his vision for the Niger Delta, break his spirit, and make him recoil into his shell. They’ve failed woefully.

Dokubo’s passion for development of the Niger Delta is fired by affinity to a common history and destiny, and his burning desire to make positive change cannot be extinguished. His magic wand used in turning around the Amnesty Programme and deepening peace in the hitherto restive region has earned him resounding applause and overwhelming support from the leaders of Niger Delta ex-agitators, royal fathers, community leaders and stakeholders.

It is heartwarming that even as his enemies who are blind to the reality on ground are resolute in their evil machinations, well-meaning Niger Deltans appreciate and have supported him in good conscience. The message is that Dokubo’s presence at the Amnesty Programme is divine, and those bent on pulling him down should not test the will of God. Dokubo is simply doing his bit in oiling the wheel of peace, security and development in the Niger Delta region and by extension, Nigeria. He needs to be encouraged.

Ganagana is Special Assistant (Media) to the Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme

Samsung seek training partnership with Amnesty Programme

Samsung Heavy Industries-Mega Construction and Integration, (SHI-MCI) Nigeria, are seeking a partnership with the Presidential Amnesty Programme to train beneficiaries on fabrication and heavy industrial welding.

This was stated recently when the Training Managers of Samsung paid a visit to the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo.

They were in the office to make a presentation of Samsung Heavy Industries welding training center. At the center they train people on fabrication and heavy industrial welding. At the end of the training, grandaunts would be issued certificate of Training Completion and International Welder Certificate. This will qualify them to work with any organization as professional welders at local and international level.

Mr. Ikechukwu Ugbaja, the Human Resource Manager and Leader of the delegates stated that they want to partner with the office through their capacity building, empowerment and employment programme.

Mr. Ugbaja further stated that the training usually last for a period of 10 months, and the training is in 3 phases. The Phase 1 is on Flux Cored Arc Welding and will last for 3months; the 2nd phase which is on Shield Metal Arc Welding usually last for 4months while phase 3 which is on Gas Tungsten Arc Welding is for a period of 3 months. At each stage the trainees will have international certification which will enable them work anywhere in the world.

Responding, the Special Adviser, to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, said he was happy to receive them. He stated that their visit is timely as the Amnesty Programme is in its re-integration stage. He assured them that the office is ready to partner with Samsung Heavy Industries provided they would train, empower and employ those being trained.

Prof. Dokubo noted that he is more concerned with empowering and employment of the youths after the training. He said that by so doing we will be assured of lasting peace in the Niger Delta.

He further added that the office is going to send some staff to visit the company for on the spot assessment of their facilities.

The visitors thanked the Management of the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator Presidential Amnesty Programme. They assured them that the impact of the collaboration will go beyond Nigeria.

The graduates would be internationally certified to work anywhere in the world. First School Leaving Certificate is the basic qualification needed to get enrolled in the training.

“Our Govt remains focused on economic growth, development of Niger Delta”

*As FG, partners launch initiative to train 2,500 beneficiaries of Amnesty Programme

 

The Federal Government under the Buhari administration will continue to support initiatives aimed at improving the lives and well-being of Nigerians in the Niger Delta, and contributing to the growth of the Nigerian economy.

This was stated on Friday by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, during the launch of Africa Atlantic Gulf of Guinea Fisheries Limited, an initiative by the Presidential Amnesty Programme and private sector partners to train 2,500 beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme.

During the event, which held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja, it was noted that the initiative, which would train about 2,500 beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme in fishing techniques and the fishery value chain, is also designed to also build 100 fishing trawlers in Nigeria.

The initiative is a Private Public Partnership between the Presidential Amnesty Programme, on behalf of the Federal Government, and private sector partners ,which include Concept Amadeus and a number of Greek technical partners.

“Today’s ceremony is especially gladdening because not only does it advance the goals of the ERGP, it also brings together in one initiative several of our economic development priorities: Ease of Doing Business, Jobs, Young People, the Niger Delta, and Agriculture and Food Security,” noted Osinbajo, who was represented at the event by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Matters, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Edobor Iyamu, who delivered the VP’s remarks.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta matters (office of the vice president) Mr. Edobor Iyamu at the launching of the Atlantic Gulf of Guinea Fisheries Limited today the 24th of May 2019 at the state house auditorium Abuja, stated that the Land mark initiative is aimed at improving the lives and well being of Niger Deltans.

Iyamu (2nd from right) represented the VP at the event

Osinbajo said “in the last four years, the Buhari administration, has its focus on reviving the Nigerian economy and repositioning it for true inclusive and diversified growth”.

The Vice President stated that the Buhari administration, in the last four years, has focused on reviving the Nigerian economy and repositioning it for true, inclusive and diversified growth.

“You will all recall the situation we inherited in 2015, and the economic recession that shortly followed, which led to the development of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). I am delighted to note that two years on, the ERGP has greatly justified its existence.

“Nigeria emerged from the recession in the second quarter of 2017, and since then has enjoyed eight consecutive quarters of growth. And just last week the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics released data that showed the healthiest first Quarter growth since 2015. Inflation is down, and manufacturing confidence has consistently been on the rise for more than two years,” he said.

Prof. Osinbajo emphasized that the Buhari administration remains fully committed to the development of the Niger Delta region through its Niger Delta New Vision.

He said, “For too long the people of the Niger Delta have had to endure failed promises and neglected aspirations. The jinx that attended the Ogoni Clean Up until recently is a very telling example of this. Years after the UNEP Report, there appeared to be little or no political will or determination to implement the recommendations, until the Buhari Administration emerged.

“From the start we have left no one in doubt as to our commitment to set the ball rolling. I am delighted that, after two and half years of painstaking preparation and putting in place the proper governance and accountability frameworks, the much-awaited remediation of Ogoniland has finally commenced.

“It is, of course, a long term task, and it is important for us as stakeholders to keep this in mind and not expect any overnight successes. It is also important that we continue to join hands to ensure that the progress we are seeing is not slowed or rolled back in any way.”

While commending the Presidential Amnesty Programme, and the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, for the hard work put into the successful implementation of the Project, he reiterated the support and commitment of the Federal Government to the success of the project.

He added, “Nigeria is a country blessed with immense agricultural resources and potential. Much of that potential has hitherto remained unexploited, and we are very determined to change this. For this reason, this initiative is very much welcome, as it will significantly scale up our domestic fish production and build capacity and value within the fishing industry. It will also produce substantial savings in foreign exchange, considering how much we currently spend annually on the importation of fish.

“It is interesting to note that this initiative is actually one of the earliest success stories of our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) Focus Labs, which we set up in 2018 to resolve the most urgent bottlenecks hindering the progress of business and investment in Nigeria.”

Others dignitaries at the event include the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, the Hon. Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani, amongst others.

We’re not owing Niger Delta ex-militants Stipends, Allowances – PAP

The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) is up-to-date with payment of stipends, books and in-training allowances to Niger Delta ex-militants.

According to a Pulse Nigeria report, Mr Murphy Ganagana, Special Assistant Media to the Coordinator, PAP, Prof. Charles Dokubo, made this known in Abuja, while responding to claims by some people that the Amnesty office owed.

It could be recalled that the amnesty deal by the Nigerian government for militants in the Niger Delta was aimed at reducing unrest in the oil-rich region.

Late former President Umaru Yar’Adua offered an unconditional pardon and cash payments to rebels who agreed to lay down their arms.

The government targeted up to 10,000 militants who attacked the six Niger Delta states and cost the country a third of its oil production.

Meanwhile the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration assured of its continuity and commitment to the Amnesty programme, through its NIGER NEW VISION initiative.

The New vision has seen to several developments in the Niger Delta area’s which includes the empowerment of ex- militant (establishment of recreational centres, cash payments, scholarship opportunities etc).

At the briefing Ganagana said that the payment of allowances to the beneficiaries have been regular and prompt ever since the present leadership took over the management of the Amnesty programme.

“As we speak today, we are not owing ex-agitators under the Amnesty programme any stipends, in-training or books allowances,. We have paid up-to -date as funds are being released.

“We do also not owe in-training allowances to any scholarship beneficiary of the programme, especially those within the country.

Ganagana further explained that those who were claiming that the amnesty office owed them one year in backlog payments, were illegally deployed to various institutions for training without due process or the consent of the Coordinator.

He said: “in March 2018 shortly after Dokubo resumed office, some Niger Delta people who were not captured in the Amnesty programme database were illegally deployed for training without the Coordinator’s authorisation.”

“There were two categories of group of persons that were illegally deployed by a former official of the Amnesty programme within the period under review.

“Some of them were captured in the database making them bona-fide beneficiaries of the programme while some were not captured.

“But the Coordinator after some considerations decided to pay only the tuition fees of those ones who were not captured and have been given admission in various institutions for training.”

He said that the legal beneficiaries were entitle to tuition fees, books and in training allowances. “So, it is out of place for those who were illegally deployed for training to claim that they are being owed allowances,” he said, adding that the amnesty programme has the mandate to training, reintegrate and empower 30,000 ex-agitators of the Niger Delta region so as to maintain peace in the region.

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.

How Nigerians are benefitting from Amnesty Programme

No fewer than 177 persons profiled from various communities across 20 distribution centres in the Niger Delta states, including Ondo, have benefited from a succour provided by the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

According to a statement from Murphy Ganagana, media aide to the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and coordinator of the Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, the items for various trades distributed to the beneficiaries included welding equipment, tailoring, catering, deep freezers and generators of different sizes.

Daily Trust reported that the exercise, which will eventually involve thousands of recipients drawn from various communities in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Cross Rivers, Imo, Ondo, Akwa Ibom and Abia states, commenced in Warri, Delta State last Friday.

The statement said that at another phase of the empowerment programme in Rivers State on Sunday, Prof Dokubo described the gesture as a show of President Muhammadu Buhari’s love for the people of the oil rich Niger Delta.

Speaking on behalf of recipients of the items at the Warri distribution centre, the community leader in Ogbeinbin, Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, Chief Solomon Ogumogu, commended the initiative.

He said, “We are happy for what is happening today. Since the beginning of the Amnesty Programme 2009, we have never experienced anything like this before. The Amnesty Programme was targeted at those involved in the armed struggle, the people that carried arms fighting for their freedom, but majority of communities in the Niger Delta had been neglected.”