Nigeria made its wealth from the overt exploration of crude oil in the Niger Delta area. However, decades of continuous oil production within the rivers and creeks and the recurrent oil spills have made this area one of the most polluted areas globally. Due to the environmental impact of oil spillages, former President Yar’Adua established the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme to cater for the communities affected by the constant oil spills. This program has overtime, undergone different evolutionary processes that have yielded positive outcomes as regards resolving the crisis within the Niger Delta region.
However, General Barry Tariye Ndiomu, the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme has stated that the programme is set to enable job creation of about 350 graduates from the Niger Delta communities. Ndiomu, at a news conference in Abuja, noted that upon his assumption of office three months ago, observed the number of ex-agitators that were recipients of both the scholarship and vocational schemes and realized that less than one percent of these recipients were gainfully employed.
Ndiomu noted that beneficiaries of PAP had been unemployed since 2017.
He noted that this was at cross purposes with the intent of the amnesty programme which was designed to facilitate immense help for the victims affected by the recurrent oil spillages in Niger Delta. He pointed out that these 350 individuals from the Niger Delta region were extremely brilliant, having notched first class and second class upper degrees. He further said that the federal government, at the time had decided that the beneficiaries should work within the various federal ministries, agencies and departments.
Continuing on, he stated that in spite of the federal directive, these people had been unemployed since 2017. He stated that while he was already in contact with the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, he was also making efforts to contact the Vice President, to ensure that these 350 beneficiaries were gainfully employed as soon as possible. He however stated that the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation was presently looking into it.
Increased numbers of ex-agitators caused the programme to deviation.
As a matter of fact, he indicated that while these beneficiaries had actually been distributed to various federal ministries, there had just been no immediate implementation and as such, he promised to give it the necessary push to enhance the actualization of their employments. He further pointed his optimism that upon the involvement of the Vice President, the 350 youths from Niger Delta would be gainfully employed to various ministries in the federal civil service.
He also disclosed that upon assuming the office, he had a concise mandate from the Office of the National Security Adviser as to the duties expected of him, one of which was the directive to halt contract awards. With this, awards of scholarships were to be discontinued. He noted that this directive was shaped to help him understand the activities of the Presidential Amnesty Programme and procure methods for the actualization. The Interim Administrator disclosed that the programme which was supposed to have ended in 2015, witnessed an increased number of ex-agitators., causing the programme to deviate from its original essence.
Three quarters of scholarship beneficiaries not agitators.
On the scholarship scheme, he explained that most of the recipients were not even the agitators and as such, it transcended into a social welfare programme, cutting across the Niger Delta. Ndiomu again disclosed that one of the mandate demanded of him was an educational audit for ascertaining the amount of ex-agitators that had received training both in Nigerian institutions and overseas. While his office had just received reports of the audit, he could ascertain that at least three quarters of the beneficiaries of the programme were not agitators.