The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, said at the weekend that efforts on sustenance and consolidation of peace in the hitherto restive Niger Delta region have recorded positive results.
Speaking in Lagos during an interactive session with 137 beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme undergoing training in various skills at the Ezonebi Training Centre, Igando, he said the Programme has been transformed to higher level.
Dokubo said: “I’m here to show the new form and interaction of the Amnesty Programme where people come together to transform their lives.
“The programme has taken off from a lower level to a higher level.
“The Amnesty Programme has been at the forefront of the peace consolidation and peace enforcement.
“It has brought peace and stability to the Niger Delta.
“We have been able to interact with those in that environment and have bought them into our dreams.
“Niger Delta is now known for peaceful development because there is no development without security.
“I want you to show Nigerians that Amnesty is now into more of training so that our beneficiaries can develop a skill after being trained and then work.
“That is the last aspect of the Amnesty Programme, which is the reintegration phase.
“When we train people, we give them jobs and they earn salaries.
“When they earn salaries, they can take care of their families, not with stipends.
“That is why I had to encourage the consultant in charge of this training centre to make sure that our beneficiaries are not only well trained, but also certified so that they can have jobs wherever they want.”
Towards this end, Dokubo said he created a unit specifically mandated to explore avenues of job opportunities and placement for beneficiaries of the of the Amnesty Programme who have completed training on skill acquisition or educational programme.
He said: “Definitely, it is a continuous process, and job placement unit, those who cannot have their own business will be given jobs by external and internal organizations.
“That way, we shall continue to engage our youths and deepen peace in the Niger Delta.”
Dokubo urged Niger Deltans to always adopt dialogue as a means for conflict resolution, emphasising that the overall interest of the region should be of concern to everyone.
He said: “People in the Niger Delta should know that blowing up pipes will not hurt anyone but themselves.
“It is going to affect our children yet unborn.
“So, there is a way of conflict resolution; sit and talk.
“Jaw-jaw is better than war-war.”
Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of Ezonebi Training Centre, Enetimi Evah Bunuzigha, expressed joy that the Amnesty Programme has transformed the lives of Niger Delta youths.
Bunuzigha said: “I am very happy about this event today because it has transformed the lives of the beneficiaries.
“It has benefitted them a lot.
“I am saying this because I know where they are coming from.
“It is a good experience for them.”
Apart from the interactive session with Prof. Dokubo, the 137 beneficiaries under training at Ezonebi were also engaged in other activities, including football and volleyball competitions at the Landmark Beach, Victoria Island, Lagos as part of events for their graduation ceremony scheduled for the end of this month.
Stephanie Eruka Jonas, a female beneficiary of the training, who spoke on behalf of her colleagues at the event, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to the Amnesty Programme.
Jonas said: “I want to say thank you to the Federal Government for giving us this opportunity to learn and get exposed.
“My coming here has become the best privilege I have got from this training because I feel like I am outside the country.
“It has given me more stories to tell when I leave this training.
“It is also my first time being in a beach like this.
“This is a decent outing because it came through the right source,and I thank God because I am here with the Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme himself.”