Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio, says the task of ensuring peace in the Niger Delta is a collective responsibility of all stakeholders in the region and not that of the government alone.
Dikio noted that if every stakeholder play their part, the dream of making the Niger Delta region the preferred place to live and do business will be achieved.
Dikio spoke on Tuesday at a webinar with the topic: “Sustaining and Deepening the Peace in the Niger Delta.”
The well-attended digital event was in commemoration of the United Nations International Day of Peace.
Dikio, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Flight Lieutenant Terry Ajobena (rtd), said action must be taken in supporting the global movement for the construction of a culture of peace based on universal values of respect for citizens’ lives fairness, justice, solidarity, human rights and equality.
He said, “Today’s event seeks to convey a deep-seated passionate call to all levels of stakeholders to reaffirm and further strengthen the commitment to the promotion of tranquility and stability in the region.
“This is the fulcrum of this webinar, to ensure that each of us, as valued stakeholders, contribute to the process of building peace in the Niger Delta. We, in the PAP understand the issues and we are doing all we can within the limit of the resources available to continue to promote projects and programmes that enhance peace and promote development of our beneficiaries.
“This is achievable through improved governance, where dialogue is placed at the centre, where shared minimums and contributions to sustainable peace are identified. Inclusive dialogue allows those who are not normally part of the decision-making process to be heard, with the premise to understand rather than answer, learn rather than refute, and integrate rather than separate”.
On the International Day of Peace, the PAP Interim Administrator noted that the value of peace around the world lies in the humongous costs expended to promote peace and security in volatile regions of the world.
According to him, “In Nigeria, the numerous efforts to eradicate violence, mitigate the burdens that residents bear during conflict, facilitate citizens’ participation in peacebuilding, and achieve the overall development of the region that have continued to bear fruits even for us in the Niger Delta.”
He also used the opportunity to explain some of the laudable objectives the PAP has promoted in the last one year, which include taking service to the Niger Delta where the ex-agitators are domiciled, training them to become entrepreneurs so they could act as agents of change, among other things.
Dikio said, “To ensure we reverse the negative narrative of a people dependent on stipends to self-actualised employers of labour and net contributors to the economic prosperity of the Niger Delta.
“We also coordinate cooperation with relevant agencies set up by the Federal Government of Nigeria to complement the efforts of PAP to ensure the development and security of the Niger Delta in line with the broader Amnesty Package as outlined in the Niger Delta Recovery Plan (NDRP) document.
“In carrying out the task of transforming our delegates into entrepreneurs, we have decided to borrow the Igbo apprenticeship style of training and we have tagged it the “TRAIN, EMPLOY AND MENTOR” scheme.
“This will ensure that these men and women, who have agitated for development, are trained, employed and then mentored to full capacity. This TEM scheme has been designed to serve as a vehicle to drive the PAP from an “Amnesty scheme” to a Niger Delta Stabilisation Programme that will create sustainable and long-lasting economic prosperity in the region, as ex-agitators would have been transitioned from being stipend-dependent to becoming responsible employees and/or employers of labour.
“In addition, we are also creating platforms where they come together, each person bringing their strength to bare in a cooperative with the result being that service and profit is maximized for all.”