No fewer than 100 already trained beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme in Rivers State were on Monday given starter packs to set up businesses in their various trade areas as part of efforts to reintegrate them back to society.
Items distributed to the beneficiaries at a ceremony held in Okochiri, Okrika Local Government Area of the state, included deep freezers, electric sewing machines and generators.
The Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, while addressing the beneficiaries, said they were empowered with starter packs to enable the engage in productive ventures and be self reliant.
Dokubo noted that the Amnesty Programme was set up to train and empower youths in the Niger Delta who are enlisted towards building human capital development for the maintenance of peace and security in the region.
He said: “This occasion is very significant for those of us in the Niger Delta. The Amnesty programme was set up to empower and to maintain security in the region. Today’s empowerment programme is to empower and enhance trained beneficiaries of the Programme, so that they can go back home and setup themselves and do jobs that will benefit them.
“Niger Delta people like I have always said are hardworking people and once they are given the roadmap, they will do whatever other people in Nigeria will do and even do it better.
“So today’s occasion is for me to give trained beneficiaries starter packs to start their lives, to open their shops and start their businesses immediately.
“Now that we have set them up, they will earn money, help their families and stabilise from war-torn to a stabilised living.”
Dokubo assured that the empowerment programme will be continuous to actualise the objectives for which the Amnesty Programme was establish.
He urged youths in the Niger Delta not to indulge in activities that would hinder the development in the region.
The Amayanabo of Okochiri Kingdom, Ateke Michael Tom, commended Dokubo for his commitment to the success of the Amnesty Programme and assured him of his support.
Tom said: “I have seen the difference in your leadership of the Amnesty Programme and I am going to work with you to achieve greater heights.
“I have heard how you have handled that office forthrightly, with commitment and transparency.
“I will support you fully and I pray that God will guide you to pilot the affairs of the Amnesty Programme successfully.”
While expressing appreciation to the Federal Government for empowering beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme in his kingdom, he recipients of the starter packs to make judicious use of the items.
A 51-year-old beneficiary, Miebaka Oribi, described Prof. Dokubo as a true and passionate Niger Delta leader committed to the development of the region and its people.
Oribi said: “I sincerely appreciate this gesture and want that assure the Federal Government and the Amnesty Programme that the starter packs given to me will be well used for the benefit of my family and the community.”