Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has commended the interim administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Col Milland Dixon Dikio (retd) for the peace being experienced in the Niger Delta region.
This is as Dikio said the Train, Employ and Mentor model which he introduced has recorded its first 349 graduates.
The 349 ex-agitators graduated from Bradama, a company owned by an ex-agitator, High Chief Bibopere Ajube, aka Shoot-at-Sight, at Agadagba-Obon, Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State.
Akeredolu, who spoke at the event, hailed Dikio for fulfilling the mandate of the programme by not only restoring peace in the region, but creating sustainable means of livelihood for the people.
Represented by his deputy, Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, Akeredolu said Dikio’s approach of creating wealth using the TEM scheme has helped to curb youth restivenes across the region and also produced a new legion of entrepreneurs in various sectors.
A statement signed by Dikio’s Special Adviser, Media, Neotabase Egbe and made available to our correspondent in Port Harcourt said while congratulating the beneficiaries, Akeredolu noted that their graduation signalled the commencement of massive opportunities in their quest to become active players in the key sectors of the nation’s economy.
He said, “I have no doubt that these graduates are quality products because of the institution they passed through.
“I am also indeed very pleased to know that the partnership between Bradanma and the Presidential Amnesty Programme is still very effective in providing the technical manpower for the oil and gas and other sectors.
“The dearth and scarcity of manpower in the oil and gas industry and other relevant sectors in the value chain has been a major challenge.
“It becomes very heartwarming therefore to find that the Amnesty programme since coming on stream has taken the initiative for a systemic restoration of peace in the Niger Delta through various scholarships into different institutions of learning with the skill acquisition and technical manpower provision for the industry thereby creating means of livelihood for our people.
“This initiative is a very important aspect of the dual purpose of redressing the impact of many years of neglect of infrastructural and human capital development in the Niger Delta”
In his address to the graduands, Dikio said 51 out of the 400 ex-agitators sent to the facility were expelled for offences bordering on indiscipline.
“Sadly, 51 delegates were expelled from the programme for deviant behaviours. I remain sad for this outcome but wish to reemphasize that PAP under my watch will not tolerate acts of indiscipline such as those displayed by the 51 expelled delegates.
“Let it be known that these delegates stand the risk of being dropped from PAP stipend list should they demonstrate further acts of sabotage,” he said.
He said TEM was introduced as a departure from previous empowerment models, which he said were fraught with poor oversight and limited opportunities for transfer of skills.
He said, “Aware of several observed and acknowledged shortcomings, my task on assumption of office on 21 August 2020 was amongst others to design and deliver a skill acquisition model that leads to a sustainable economic empowerment to Presidential Amnesty Programme delegates.
“Essentially, the model is built around food security, active participation in the oil and gas and the untapped Blue economy with specific emphasis on marine transport, security and mechanized aquaculture.”
Congratulating the graduands, Dikio appealed to those to be retained in the facility to remain good ambassadors of PAP while others would be guided by the Job Placement Unit of PAP to other opportunities in the region.
He commended the Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer and Staff of Bradama for painstakingly delivering the TEM project as well as the state government for being host to the novel model.
Some of the graduates said it was a dream come true and thanked the Dikio led PAP for engaging them with the life transforming opportunity that had restored their economic future and that of their families.