IYC President Advocates Increased Funding for Presidential Amnesty Programme

President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Sir Jonathan Lokpobiri, has called for an upward revision of the allocation to the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) from the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Lokpobiri who made this patriotic call on Monday in Abuja while on a courtesy visit to the PAP Interim Administrator, Major General Barry Ndiomu (rtd), called for a strict intervention support from the Federal Government to enable the PAP meet up with current realities and expectations.

While noting that the Programme has been “tremendously successful” in terms of impacting lives of young Niger Deltans, he expressed the commitment and readiness of the IYC as the umbrella body of young people in the region to partner and work “strategically” with Ndiomu to further reposition the PAP.

“With the fast decrease in value of the Naira, a N65billion annual funding is a far cry. N65billion of now cannot do what N65billion of before would have done,” he said adding that, “It is our appeal to the Government of President Bola Tinubu that there needs to be a review”.

As part of its contribution to building the capacity of youths, Lokpobiri disclosed that the IYC is currently building a Training Center in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. He said upon completion of the Center, the IYC will enter a strategic partnership with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) for professional services and advice.

In his response, the Interim Administrator commended the IYC President for his acknowledgement of paucity of funds in the PAP. “When people make comments without getting their facts right, it becomes displeasing,” he said of Lokpobiri’s acknowledgement of the current realities of the value of naira to dollar.

Ndiomu further charged the IYC leadership to take up the responsibility of preaching the many success stories of the PAP to young people in the region, advise them to drop the culture of laziness and indolence, and begin to think of “bigger” ways to sustainably improve their lives.

Clearing the air on the Amnesty’s Scholarship programmes, Ndiomu reiterated that his administration has cleared all academic bills of its beneficiaries, both for local and foreign students.

Ndiomu called on the Ijaw nation to “check its excesses”, and explore ways of working with other ethnic nationalities of the Niger Delta region to drive “peace, unity and harmony”.

While decrying the “disturbing” level of poverty in Ijaw land, the Interim Administrator expressed worry that young people in Niger Delta are not taking full advantage of the enormous opportunities in the region. Among these, he listed the vast natural habitat for rice farming, and the untapped potentials of oil palm production.

He also renewed his call for the possibility of the Presidential Amnesty Programme transiting into a Social Intervention Programme.