Prominent leaders of the first phase Presidential Amnesty Programme said that they lost hope on the programme until Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (retd.), came on board as its Interim Administrator.
A statement by the organization on Saturday said the leaders spoke after meeting with Dikio in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State as part of his continuous engagement with all ex-agitators and beneficiaries of the programme.
Leaders of the first phase in attendance at the meeting were the Speaker of Bayelsa House State of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere; Paul Eris, popularly called Ogunboss; a member of Bayelsa House of Assembly, Felix Bonny-Ayah; Pastor Reuben and Joshua Macaiver among others.
The ex-agitators, who discussed their challenges with Dikio at the meeting, said they never had such robust engagement with PAP in the past. Macaiver expressed faith in Dikio’s administration describing the Strategic Communication Committee set up by PAP to address the problems of misinformation as the step in the right direction.
He said, “Before the current amnesty boss came on board, certain things went so wrong that when they talked about the amnesty programme, some of us would say that the programme had failed. “But now that the current amnesty boss sees us as part of the programme, we are very hopeful and have faith that something good will come out of this administration”. Dikio, in his response, stressed the need for beneficiaries of the amnesty programme to think beyond the N65,000 monthly stipend.
According to him, his new model of train, employ and mentor programme was designed to make ex-agitators employers of labour He said, “We will collaborate with the various levels of government in the region to ensure we get the best out of people in the Niger Delta.
We are working to ensure that people in the Niger Delta are also able to attain heights, regardless of their status.” Dikio insisted that the scholarship of the PAP must be based on merit explaining that 70 per cent would be allocated for the ex-agitators, 20 per cent for impacted communities and 10 per cent for PAP’s discretion.
He promised to look into the complaints and concerns of the ex-agitators on the reorganisation of the programme’s offices for effective service delivery. He said, “Niger Delta as a riverine area should be investing heavily on maritime transport and maritime security. Maritime transport should be our domain.
We must own it because it is who we are. This Niger Delta will be the best place to live and do business in my lifetime. I know that for sure.”