By Desmond Ejibas
The Federal Government is to train and empower 11, 500 Niger Delta ex-agitators in agriculture as part of moves to diversify the economy, an official has said.
Retired Brig.-Gen. Paul Boro, the Special Adviser to the President and Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme (PAP), made the disclosure at the inauguration of some poultry farms in Rivers.
The farms are located in Elele, Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“PAP has resorted to engaging ex-agitators in agric in line with the Federal Government Green Alternative Initiative which is designed to diversify and revamp the economy,’’ he said
Boro said that the training for the ex-agitators would commence soon and would be concluded before the end of the year.
“The Presidential Amnesty Programme, which started in 2009 with 30,000 ex-agitators has become a huge success and factor in stabilising the Niger Delta region.
“Government is committed to the sustainability of the Amnesty Programme by engaging the ex-agitators in agriculture, among other sectors, to enable them to be empowered.
“Out of 30,000 ex-agitators captured in PAP; 18,260 have been trained in various vocational trainings.
“About 3,568 have been trained and empowered to becoming aircraft engineers, pilots, farmers, information technology experts, while some are working in the oil and gas sector.
“The PAP is looking at training 11,500 ex-agitators to be trained and empowered on usage of scientific method in agric before the end of 2016,’’ he said.
Boro said that some 500 ex-agitators had been trained in agriculture out of whom 271 had been fully empowered.
He said that those criticising PAP were those who had not yet been captured in the programme but that discussions were ongoing to capture such people.
According to him, President Buhari Muhammed is committed to funding of the programme in spite of the current economic challenges facing the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that three ex-agitators out of 50 in Elele community received three poultry farms.
The Amnesty Programme was introduced by government to resettle angry youths in the Niger Delta Region fighting the destruction of their environment