All stakeholders in the Niger Delta have remained on the same page about the performance of the Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (retd) since his appointment in August 2020.
Describing Dikio as unique when compared to the past administrators of the scheme, the stakeholders comprising elders, traditional rulers, youths, notable politicians, ex-agitators and women groups have continued to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to make him the substantive coordinator of the programme.
Most of them insisted that Dikio surpassed their expectations in his managerial skill, clear-cut vision, firmness and capacity to pursue the original mandate of the scheme.
The stakeholders maintained that Dikio picked a dying programme, breathed life into it and made it the most functional scheme that had attracted positive image to President Buhari and the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
They particularly appreciated Dikio’s novel Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM), a model that redefine the training project of ex-agitators with the objectives of giving them automatic employments and turning them to entrepreneurs.
For instance, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, commended Dikio for delivering the mandate of the scheme with lean resources.
He said Dikio’s remarkable achievements were a clear demonstration of his zeal to find himself on the right side of history.
He said: “We have to as a people stand together. We have had the Presidential Amnesty Programme for a long time but we have not been fortunate. If you look at what the programme was meant to achieve, we have currently not achieved it.
Addressing Dikio, he said: “You’ve come at this juncture of history and we are very proud of you because you’re doing very well. We must say that you’re even late in the day because today the amnesty programme is not even getting as much as it used to get.
“If at this moment you’re doing so much with the little you’re getting, we can only imagine what you would have done during the hay days of the amnesty programme when there was a huge cash flow.
“Everytime I see the National Security Adviser, I thank him for you and I have always pledged my support that anything required from me concerning the amnesty programme I will willingly do it”.
Sylva called on the leaders of the region to close ranks to attract more development and lauded Dikio’s Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) scheme, saying it had made the training of ex-agitators more rewarding.
He said: “Educationally we are very disadvantaged so a programme like this should be able to help us reposition our young men for the future and I’m happy you’re doing that. I especially like the idea of tying the two ends together, of training and employment.
“Because if you train young men and you do not have any plans for employment it can become a problem which is what we have seen. Young men are trained with no arrangement for their employment. They come back from their training and they are roaming the streets. They become even more dangerous”.
The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has been particularly impressed with Dikio’s ongoing efforts to transform ex-agitators into entrepreneurs
The forum noted that such plan, reforms and programmes introduced by Dikio underscored his focus to actualise the mandate of PAP since he took over the amnesty office a year ago.
PANDEF’s Chairman, Emmanuel Essien, described the reintegration programme of Dikio as unique saying all the stakeholders from the region were behind him.
He said: “We are very happy with his performance in the Presidential Amnesty office. He is doing very well compared to the past administrators that have been there. As a matter of fact, he is really focusing on the core mandate of the presidential amnesty so we are very happy with him and we congratulate him one his first one year in office.”
Essien said the best gift President Muhammadu Buhari would give to the region was to give Dikio the full authority to run PAP.
“The stakeholders are quite happy, At PANDEF, we have recommended that he should be confirmed as the Administrator and Special Adviser to the President on PAP. This is the opinion of majority of the stakeholders in the region because of his excellent performance”, he said.
Essien said it was heartwarming to see many ex-agitators showing interest in becoming entrepreneurs because of Dikio’s plans, reforms and strategies.
He said Dikio should be empowered to complete the process of making the new dreams of ex-agitators a reality for sustainable peace and development of the region.
In fact, youths including the foremost Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide have not given up on their call to make Dikio, the substantive coordinator of the scheme saying he had so far surpassed their expectations.
The IYC Spokesperson, Ebilade Ekerefe, applauded Dikio for his constant engagements with stakeholders in the region, noting it was a clear departure from previous administrations.
He said: “For us, Col. Dikio (rtd) has done beyond the expectations of many persons especially taking into consideration those who have manned that office in recent times. He has been able to stabilize the programme and many stakeholders are very pleased with his strategies.
“Dikio has been able to redirect the amnesty programme. The amnesty programme has a template and the previous coordinators of the programme did not really pursue the template.
“However, since Dikio took over the helms of affairs, he has been able to pursue the programme in a direction that is very pleasing to the stakeholders of the region, especially as he engages with them.”
Ebilade said Dikio’s engagements led to the peace and stability in the region observing that the amnesty boss would not allow any month to pass without visiting Niger Delta to interface with stakeholders.
Ex-agitators recently warned of consequences if enemies of the Niger Delta were allowed to stop Dikio from completely implement his vision to actualise the mandates of the scheme.
They described those behind the campaign of calumny against Dikio as merchant of violence profiting from endless crisis in the Niger Delta.
They said such individuals were angry that Dikio’s visions, programmes and projects would end their crisis empire as they were designed to entrench peace, sustainably empower ex-agitators and ensure the development of the region.
A Frontline ex-as gutator, Nature Dumale, said since he assumed office, Dikio had never wasted time blaming his predecessors for running down the programme.
Instead, he said the amnesty boss rolled up his sleeves, formulated and implemented reforms to correct the ills of PAP and reposition it to actualize its mandate.
Dumale said: “In the past, we saw people take over the office but kept playing the blame game and ended up achieving nothing. But Dikio has continuously sought ways to correct the wrongs and bring peace to Niger Delta.
“Everything he has done so far is to reposition the Niger Delta for peace and development. He desires multinationals, which had left the region to return, do business and employ our people.
“The second thing we observed is that he has returned the programme to its owners in the Niger Delta. Before he came, ex-agitators like me were visiting Abuja for meetings. But immediately he came, Dikio returned the programme to the region and insisted that all activities of the amnesty programme must be held in the Niger Delta.
“The region is feeling the economic multiplier effects of these engagements. The economic benefits trickle down to all stakeholders and business owners from hotels, to food vendors”.