The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) has produced its first set of 349 graduates under the Train, Employ and Mentor scheme introduced by the Interim Administrator of Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (retd).
However, 51 of the ex-agitators were however expelled for indiscipline and other forms of shady behaviours.
The 349 ex-agitators graduated from Bradama, a company owned by an ex-agitator, High Chief Bibopere Ajube, aka Shoot-at-Sight, at Agadagba-Obon, Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State.
During the event, Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, represented by the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, commended Dikio for fulfilling the mandate of the programme by restoring peace in the Niger Delta and creating sustainable means of livelihood for the people.
According to him, Dikio’s approach of creating wealth using the TEM scheme has helped to curb youth restivenes across the region and also produced a new legion of entrepreneurs in various sectors.
While congratulating the beneficiaries, Aiyedatiwa said that their graduation signalled the commencement of massive opportunities in their quest to become active players in the key sectors of the nation’s economy.
He said, “I have no doubt that these graduates are quality products because of the institution they passed through. I am also indeed very pleased to know that the partnership between Bradanma and the Presidential Amnesty Programme is still very effective in providing the technical manpower for the oil and gas and other sectors.
“The dearth and scarcity of manpower in the oil and gas industry and other relevant sectors in the value chain has been a major challenge.
“It becomes very heart-warming therefore to find that the Amnesty programme since coming on stream has taken the initiative for a systemic restoration of peace in the Niger Delta through various scholarships into different institutions of learning with the skill acquisition and technical manpower provision for the industry thereby creating means of livelihood for our people.
“This initiative is a very important aspect of the dual purpose of redressing the impact of many years of neglect of infrastructural and human capital development in the Niger Delta.”
Dikio told the graduands that 51 out of the 400 ex-agitators sent to the facility were expelled for offences bordering on indiscipline.
He said, “Sadly, 51 delegates were expelled from the programme for deviant behaviours. I remain sad for this outcome but wish to reemphasize that PAP under my watch will not tolerate acts of indiscipline such as those displayed by the 51 expelled delegates.
“Let it be known that these delegates stand the risk of being dropped from PAP stipend list, should they demonstrate further acts of sabotage”.
He said TEM was introduced as a departure from previous empowerment models, which he said were fraught with poor oversight and limited opportunities for transfer of skills.
Dikio said, “Aware of several observed and acknowledged shortcomings, my task on assumption of office on 21 August 2020 was amongst others to design and deliver a skill acquisition model that leads to a sustainable economic empowerment to Presidential Amnesty Programme delegates.
“Essentially, the model is built around food security, active participation in the oil and gas and the untapped Blue economy with specific emphasis on marine transport, security and mechanized aquaculture”.
Dikio said in line with delivering the transformation of delegates to “skill giants” in the Niger Delta, PAP under his watch ensured that only companies that demonstrated the capacity to train delegates in a resourced technical facility such as Bradama and with ability to provide employment to at least 50 per cent of the best graduands are engaged to execute TEM projects.
He said the choice of Bradama as the pioneer TEM facilitator was informed by the development and growth of the company owned by Ajube, who was one of those at the forefront of the agitations for a more developed Niger Delta.
Dikio said, “The Bradama facility as you have experienced is equipped to train delegates in all types of welding, fabrication, abrasive blasting, scaffolding, plumbing, electrical and solar energy and tilling/interlocking amongst others.
“I believe that the 349 successful delegates seated here, can now boast of being skilled and licensed in these various skill sets. PAP is really proud of your success and your families would be happier having been granted a ticket to fit into sustainable livelihood.
“It is the desire of PAP to flood the Niger Delta region with qualified technicians that would take their pride of place in most companies operating in the region”.
Congratulating the new graduates, Dikio appealed to those to be retained in the facility to remain good ambassadors of PAP while others would be guided by the Job Placement Unit of PAP to other opportunities in the region.
He commended the Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer and Staff of Bradama for painstakingly delivering the TEM project as well as the state government for being host to the novel model.
Also, speaking the Managing Director of Bradama International Skills Work Limited, High Chief Bibopere Ajube, described the event as the result of their struggle for a better Niger Delta.
Some of the graduates said it was a dream come true and thanked the Dikio led PAP for engaging them with the life transforming opportunity that had restored their economic future and that of their families.