Ex-agitators under the First Phase have warned firms willing to approach the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) for contracts to brace up for tough times saying it will no longer be business as usual under the programme’s Interim Administrator, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd).
The National Secretary, First Phase Ex-Agitators, Pastor Nature Dumale, explained in a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Nneota Egbe, that Dikio has not awarded any new contracts since he came on board because he was interested in sanitising the process to actualise the reintegration phase of the programme.
Dumale spoke in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Tuesday after accompanying Dikio to inspect commercial farms in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, as part of arrangements to roll out training for ex-agitators on agriculture.
He said the amnesty boss inherited many ex-agitators, who went through various training programmes without empowerment, noting that Dikio had evolved a new strategy of Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) to deal with the shortcomings.
Dumale said only contractors whose proposals and facilities were in line with TEM would be considered for fresh jobs in PAP.
He said: “It is no longer business as usual. You will not get any contract from the amnesty office except due diligence is properly carried out to the satisfaction of procurement, legal, project and account departments including the Interim Administrator himself, who is a diligent man.
“The amnesty boss has come up with the vision of TEM, Train, Mentor and Employ. It is a process where any person that comes up to do a contract will know it is not business as usual.
“You are going to do a presentation showing statistics, evidence and proofs of the fact that you can take delegates to your company, get them trained, employed and mentored so that at the end of the day they can get a job somewhere because they have been properly mentored.
“After you have done a presentation, the entire amnesty team will also do a practical inspection of your facility. So the Niger Delta should know there is hope for the region.”
Insisting that Dikio’s main focus was to address the challenges of reintegration, Dumale said the amnesty boss had already identified food security, waterway security and waterway transportation as areas of interest.
“We are blessed with so much fertile land and that is why he wants to concentrate on agriculture. We can make more than N65, 000 monthly by planting only maize and cassava.
“It is safer and easier to travel by water. So, waterway transportation is very profitable. Look at Port Harcourt to Calabar; it will take you the whole day to travel by road from Uyo to Calabar now. But that same journey by water is less than one hour. The amnesty boss took responsibility to go through the same route by water himself last week Saturday to see things himself.
“The Chinese people make billions of dollars annually from fishing in our own coastal lines. Why can’t we go into the fishing business? Why can’t we buy trawlers and go into fishing ourselves?
“Even in waterway security, we are the best people to secure our environment because we know our environment. So, these are the visions of the amnesty boss in the reintegration phase.”
Dumale appealed to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Environment to partner with the Amnesty office to tackle the challenges of the region.
The former warlord warned civil servants in the amnesty office frustrating the efforts of Dikio to actualise the mandate of the scheme to steer clear.
He said: “PAP is a security programme and should be treated as such. Salaries and finances should be released as and when due so that the office can run.
“The civil servants there should know that it is not civil service work and must cooperate with the leadership of that office so that they will be able to carry out their projects and cooperations. They should not be a barrier to the vision of the leader – the amnesty boss.”