The Special Adviser to the President and the Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo on Thursday said the number of ex-militant graduates has hit 20,000 in the last one year.
He also said 2,577 persons are still in school right now including 1,060 persons in not less than 10 universities (both private and government) locally and 1,517 abroad in over 50 universities spread across Europe, Asia, Africa and Americas.
He said the Amnesty Programme in the last one year has empowered and facilitated the set-up of small and medium scale businesses for nearly 4,450 ex-militants.
He said the programme always gets about N65billion to N67billion annually to manage its activities.
Dokubo, who made the disclosures at a briefing in Abuja on his first year in office, said 30,000 ex-militants are still benefiting from the nation’s amnesty programme.
He said the Federal Government still pays N65,000 to former militants on its roll.
He said the next phase of the programme will focus on job placement for its graduates who will later be exited from the roll once they are fully working and earning better pay.
Dokubo said: “Furthermore, since taking over, the number of ex-militants that have graduated has increased geometrically to over 20,000.
“On my watch, about 3, 243 persons are at present undergoing training while 5, 578 are at the same time awaiting training (this is because the PAP does the training in batches).
“With regards to education, a breakdown shows that, of 2,577 persons are in school right now, 1,060 persons are studying in not less than 10 universities (both private and government) locally, while 1,517 are studying abroad in over 50 universities spread across Europe, Asia, Africa and Americas.
“Deriving from that, therefore, under my watch, a total of 18,602 received vocational training in specialised courses.
“This is the breakdown: agriculture, 2,265; automobile mechanics, 1,171; welding/fabrication 4,686; entrepreneurship, 2,074; carpentry, plumbing & pipe fitting, 402; electrical installation/maintenance, 714; Information and Communications Technology-ICT, 401; Crane/heavy duty operations, 1,536; health safety & environment-HSE, 249; music/fashion/entertainment/catering, 1688; others, 2,185; aviation, 187; and Boat building, 152; Out of the 3243 in training, 3,006 are receiving education; 2,799 in universities in Nigeria, and 207 students in universities and colleges abroad.
“Also, at the moment, 237 are receiving specialised vocational training, 217 in vocational/skills acquisition in Nigeria, and, 20 undergoing specialised training Aviation training at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology-NCAT. This shows that the training component of the reintegration programme have had modest impact on human capacity development in the Niger Delta.”
Dokubo explained why the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) is investing in education
He added: “PAP is doing all this knowing that knowledge and education are key factors to the full and effective participation of youths in the processes of social, economic and political development. What education does to the youth is that it gives them the knowledge, capacities, skills and ethical values needed to fulfil their role as agents of development, good governance, social inclusion, tolerance and peace.
“We recognise the fact that greater focus on universal access to education, quality education, human rights education and learning is key for young people to be able to address their aspirations and challenges, fulfil their potential, and influence current and future social and economic conditions and opportunities.”
On vocational training centres, the Coordinator said two of these centres have already been commissioned.
He said they are Oil and Gas Training Centre in Agadaba-Obon, Ondo State and the Basic Skills Training Centre in Kaiama in Bayelsa State.
He, however, condemned the recent vandalization of the centre in Kaiama.
“We have investigated the attack on the centre, we will soon submit the report to the government. The police have also investigated and arrested some suspects.
“Nigerians will soon know those behind the attack,” he said.
Dokubo said the Amnesty Programme has so far empowered nearly 4,450 ex-militants.
He said: “On the contrary, the Nigerian scenarios have depicted that many Niger-Delta youths and citizens do not have the financial muscles to set-up their businesses, and PAP realizing this and further recognizing that governments alone cannot provide jobs for its teeming youth population, has astutely developed programmes towards the expansion of economic activities through entrepreneurship and job placements of all trained delegates. Right now, PAP is liaising with different organisations such as United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to help in this regards.
“Although, post-training engagement for already trained ex-militants remains daunting. However, the present Amnesty Coordinator has so far empowered and facilitated the set-up of small and medium scale businesses for nearly 4,450 ex-militants.
“Some of the many trained delegates have secured direct employment in the public and private sectors within and outside the country.”