The Presidential Amnesty Office yesterday said it was yet to empower 11,768 ex-militants out of the 30,000 that were granted amnesty by the Federal Government in 2009.
The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and the Chairman of Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), retired) Brig.-Gen Paul Boroh, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
However, Boroh said the office had facilitated the employment of more than 13,348 ex-agitators within and outside the country on vocation, while 924 of them were on education.
“2,849 delegates are currently exited so far, this comprises largely empowerment of delegates.
“Exiting a person in the programme is as a result of empowerment and delegates are given starter packs for their businesses,â€ he said.
He said that the office trained the ex-militants in various vocational skills centres and educational institutions in Nigeria and abroad.
“Today, we have close to 2,872 students in 127 universities, and 925 skills acquisition centres in over 26 countries.
“They are also in six private universities and 19 training institutions in each state in Nigeria. So far, the training programme has been on course both locally and offshore,â€ the coordinator said.
According to him, the mandate of the office was not actually to provide jobs but to train and reintegrate these persons after training.
“Well, some people could argue that getting jobs for them is part of reintegration. We have to look into that to see how we can get these persons properly reintegrated,” Boroh said.
The presidential aide explained further that 279 ex-agitators had graduated from the scheme from August 2015 to date.
“We will explore the opportunity provided by the Federal Government so that our delegates that had been trained can be gainfully employed,â€™â€™ he said.
According to him, new persons cannot be accommodated into the programme because the aim of the programme was to train ex-agitators who submitted their arms within the window period set by the government.
He, however, noted that there were various scholarship programmes across various agencies and oil multinationals in the region.
“It will be a duplicate of these activities and it can lead to neglect of other socio-economic/infrastructure need upon which the amnesty programme was set up,â€™â€™ he said.
Boroh urged beneficiaries of the programme and their parents seeking refund for bills they incurred when remittance were delayed to submit an application supported by the invoice from the institution and evidence of payment.
He noted that such invoice should be an official receipt from the institution.
“When these are submitted to the office, refunds will be processed,” he assured.
NAN recalls that the PAP recently graduated 72 ex-agitators in Aquaculture and Fishery at the Institute of Oceanography, University of Calabar
Â Credit NAN