Ex-agitators of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) say they stopped blocking of the East-West Road for protests because of the various reforms introduced by the scheme’s Interim Administrator, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (ret).
According to the former Niger Delta fighters and warlords, Dikio won their hearts through prompt payments of their stipends, effective communication as well as the introduction of the Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) training strategy.
The ex-agitators disclosed this in a statement in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Monday. It was signed by the National Secretary of the First Phase Amnesty, Pastor Dumale Kieghe.
They also stated that Dikio’s frequent visits to the Niger Delta and his regular meetings with stakeholders had endeared him to the people of the region as these steps had brought relative peace to the once volatile area.
Kieghe said Dikio had since his assumption of office at PAP proved he possessed the capability to run the programme, commending President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing him at a time the PAP was beginning to lose its value.
The ex-agitators further praised Dikio for not compromising his standards inspite of pressures and blackmail by persons, who had partaken in the endemic rot that had for years inhibited the development of the Amnesty Programme.
According to the ex-agitators statement, “We want to let the Niger Delta people know that there is hope with this administration. One of the things we have taken with high note is that Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), has not apportioned blame to his predecessors and that shows a high sense of responsibility on his part.
“Before this time, we had delegates who went for training and have not been engaged or employed and this made the Amnesty Programme look as though it had failed.
“But since the assumption of Dikio, he made up his mind not to award contracts that will not get delegates engaged. Dikio initiated the Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) scheme in order to engage capable vendors to implement his vision for the PAP beneficiaries.
“Today, we have ex-agitators in different training facilities in the Niger Delta undergoing the TEM scheme and we look forward to the success stories of these trainees. We also have ex-agitators going through Agricultural entrepreneurship training. The training is to help us become employees of labour. It is the first of its kind”.
They, however, appealed to the Ministries of Environment, Petroleum Resources and Niger Delta Affairs to join hands with the Amnesty office in order to meet the demands of the Niger Delta region.
The ex-warlords, therefore, appealed to the Niger Delta people and major stakeholders to give their support to Dikio to enable him to achieve his overall plans for the programme.
Their statement added, “Over the years we have been blocking roads and protesting, it has not yielded any result. Each time we block the road, it is our people and their businesses that suffer. We end up frustrating the businesses of our people.
“We are used to pulling down our leaders and those at the helm of affairs, can we for a change show support to Dikio? Our hope and wish is for other government parastatals involved in the Niger Delta recovery plan to learn from Dikio to sustain peace in the Niger Delta and attract meaningful development to our region.”