From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Diko (rtd), has called on ex-agitators to develop business proposals and ideas capable of transforming them into successful entrepreneurs.
A statement signed on Saturday by Dikio’s Special Adviser – Media, Nneotaobase Egbe, said the amnesty boss spoke in Uyo when he met with some leaders of first phase amnesty programme drawn from Akwa Ibom, Cross River led by Nico Martins Sintei Dikio promised that PAP would support business proposals and ideas from ex-agitators to aid their transition into entrepreneurs, who would no longer depend on N65,000 monthly stipends.
“I want to encourage you to bring your ideas and business proposals forward and let’s support you to become successful entrepreneurs. We will organize business seminars to train and equip you to do good and legitimate businesses.”
On the new policy of PAP about contracts, he said: “We are no more giving out contracts in the Amnesty office. Unless you are going to train, employ and mentor our ex-agitators. That’s our new philosophy going forward.”
“PAP will pay for the training but with the understanding that our people will be employed and mentored afterwards. We are simply adopting the Igbo apprentiship system so that at the end of the day it’s a win-win for everybody.
He appealed to ex-agitators to form cooperatives to enable them take advantage of the business opportunities in the region.
“There are endless opportunities beyond the payment of stipends. As a people, we need to take advantage of the opportunities around us to transform our region. For instance, we can exploit our huge maritime potentials to benefit the region.
“Our maritime resource is key to the development of the Niger Delta and it is one sector where people of the region can benefit substantially if they are well trained to harness the enormous opportunities therein.
“Nothing stops you from forming yourselves into cooperatives to enable you access loans to acquire fishing trawlers. It’s important that you start thinking beyond N65k monthly stipends.”
On their part, the ex-agitators commended Dikio for regularly engaging them, praising his humility and initiatives to give them sustainable economic empowerment.
They assured him of their resolve to cooperate and work with him to actualise his vision for PAP.