Abuja – The Coordinator Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), says it is the duty of communities, the Federal Government and oil companies to provide jobs for youths in the Niger-Delta region.
A statement signed by Mr Owei Lakemfa, Head of Media PAP, quoted Boroh as saying this while addressing the chiefs, elders, women and youth groups of George Town, Okrika, Rivers State on Saturday.
Boroh, also Special Adviser to the President on the Niger Delta, said that 20 Ex-Militants were empowered in a cluster co-operative integrated farm by the government.
According to him, the model farm, which was fully funded by the programme has 30 ponds, one ‘Run-off Earthen Pond,’ 5000 Bird Poultry including Broiler and Layers, Free Range, Cropping and Processing Sections, Administration and Sales Office, 2 Feed Stores, 2 Implement Stores and one Control Room.
The Coordinator told the beneficiaries that they have once in a life time opportunity not just to make a decent living for themselves and their families but also to employ a number of the unemployed.
Boroh said the cluster farming would impact positively on the beneficiaries and assist them to be employers of labour.
He said the beneficiaries were introduced to the fish smoking kiln and a multipurpose seafood processor to aid their businesses.
According to the Coordinator, the introduction to a more effective and efficient technology of fish/seafood preservation and processing had a tremendous impact on their livelihood activities.
He said the Amnesty Office would further empower the beneficiaries by handing over to them as a start off package, 1000 fingerlings to 2000 post fingerlings, 100 Point of Lay Birds and an additional 200 broilers, 10 Piglets and a Crop Section: with Cucumber, Pepper, Pumpkin and Okra.
The presidential aide said the modern cluster farm for which the Rivers State Government has given a registration as “Okrika Agro Farmers 105 Cooperative and Investment and Credit Society Limited,” would be replicated in other parts of the region.
Boroh also visited some individual aquaculture holdings in Okrika funded by PAP.
Also, the George Town Traditional leader, Chief Akuro George, in his response at the meeting, thanked PAP under Boroh for extending “Federal presence” to George Town.
George said the project has established a bond between the people and the Federal Government and called for a skills acquisition centre be established by the Amnesty Office in George Town to cater for unemployed youths.
The traditional ruler, also a former First Vice President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), said “the problem of the Niger Delta is a collective challenge.”
He urged other federal, state and local government agencies to collaborate for the development of the region and the country.
The monarch appealed for the completion of roads in the town by the Federal Government intervention agency.
The Songhai Farms, which trained the beneficiaries and helped them established the cluster farm, said it would spend the next three months to mentor the beneficiaries.
Its General Manager, Mr Tammy Jaja said the model farm is based on a zero-waste technology in which the use of waste materials in one section is a critical input in another section.
The Chairman of the beneficiaries’ cooperative society, Mr Emmanuel Promise, thanked the Federal Government for giving them the opportunity to run a business of their own.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Amnesty Programme said it was committed to human capacity development among youths in the Niger Delta as a deliberate step to ensure reintegrate the 30,000 ex-agitators captured under the Amnesty programme.
The programme, which started in 2009, had sponsored beneficiaries in various skills training in the areas of education and entrepreneurship, automobile engineering, auto electrical, auto manufacturing, auto maintenance, underwater welding, aviation, agriculture, tourism & hospitality and sports, among others. (NAN)