. Programme to focus on ages 12 to 18 years
The Presidential Amnesty Programme is seeking support for a Niger Delta Stabilization Programme (NDSP) to stop the resurgence of militancy and guarantee permanent peace in the oil-rich region.
PAP Interim Administrator, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), described the NDSP as a proactive vehicle designed to keep youngsters aged 12 to 18 years away from armed struggle, militancy and other violent crimes.
Dikio, in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Nneotaobase Egbe, disclosed this proposal when he visited HRM Maj. Gen Felix Mujakperou (rtd), the Orodje of Okpe kingdom, a prominent traditional ruler in the Niger Delta region in his palace on August 22, 2022.
Dikio said the Federal Government should consider the NDSP as a smart and cost effective measure to ensure uninterrupted development of the Niger Delta and to safeguard the future of young people in the region.
Explaining the motive of NDSP, the PAP boss said, “We want to create what we call the Niger Delta Stabilization Programme because the current programme is only focused on the rehabilitation of the 30,000 registered ex-agitators who responded to the declaration of amnesty. However, it does not address the causative factors or motivations for successive generational waves of militancy in the region since the 1960’s.
“So, the question is, as we are drawing down on this Amnesty, could we also keep an eye on the younger generation and give them a new orientation in response to the socio-economic issues in the region? Yes; we can focus on ages 12-18 because those who are 12 now will be 22 in 10years, and those who are 18 now will be 28. This was the age bracket of most of the ex-militants.
‘”If you are treating an ailment, you must also take measures to prevent more from developing. The NDSP is designed to give our youngsters a better view of life in order to dry up the pipeline that leads to deviant behavior and militancy.”
Dikio, who lauded the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom, who is also the Chairman, Delta State Traditional Rulers Council, solicited his support and other stakeholders from the region to actualize the plan.
He also used the occasion to highlight the gains of the novel Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) scheme aimed at changing the current economic fortunes of the people of the Niger Delta through those captured by the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
He said, “The mantra has been about oil and gas but there are so many things that need attention such as palm produce production and the development of the blue economy which are potentially capable of creating a more diversified Niger Delta economy.
“Even in our training programme, we are shifting minds. During the recent graduation of 349 delegates at Bradama International Steel Works in Ondo State, the overall best student said he is very happy that in seven months he already has a job as opposed to his mates who went to the university.
“There is a lot we can do to change the dynamics,” he explained.
In his remarks, Orodje of Okpe Kingdom, HRM Felix Mujakperuo, said Dikio had shown that something good could come out of the Amnesty Programme and commended him for his achievements so far.
He urged him to forgive his detractors and critics but continue to silence them with his performance while drawing from his military career.
He also called for more support for him from all stakeholders to stabilize the Niger Delta region.