By Abujah Racheal
(NAN) The Presidential Amnesty Programme Office has commenced verification of ex-militants to ascertain their exact number.
The Coordinator, Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja that the exercise was part of the exit plans.
Boroh, who is also the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, reiterated government’s commitment to the training and empowerment of all beneficiaries listed on the programme.
He said that more than 3,010 ex-militants who recently exited the programme have been empowered.
“Exiting from the programme is as a result of empowerment and delegates are given starter packs for their businesses.
“The office trains the ex-militants in various vocational skill centres and educational institutions in Nigeria and abroad,” he said.
According to him, the mandate of the office is not to provide jobs, but to train and reintegrate the ex-militants.
“Well, some people could argue that getting jobs for them is part of reintegration. We have to look into that to see how we can get these persons properly reintegrated,” Boroh said.
The presidential aide said that 200 ex-agitators had graduated from an advanced agriculture training at the Bio Resource Centre in Odi, Bayelsa State.
“We will explore the opportunity provided by the Federal Government so that our delegates that had been trained can be gainfully employed,’’ he said.
Boroh said that agriculture should be encouraged at all levels of national life so that the country could become a multicultural economy that depends less on oil.
He said youth unemployment remained a major challenge in the Niger Delta, and assured that the government would resuscitate the moribund industrial complexes in the region.
According to him, some of the industries include the Aluminium Smelting Company in Akwa Ibom and the Aladja Steel in Delta state.
“These would provide employment for tens of thousands of youths in the Niger Delta,” Boroh said. (NAN)