As the world marks the 2023 International Day for eradication of poverty, the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), has reiterated its commitment towards eradicating poverty in the Niger Delta Region, particularly among the ex-agitators.
Speaking on Tuesday, during the commemoration of the International Day for Eradication of Poverty, held in Abuja, Barry Ndiomu, the interim administrator of PAP said that the Agency has been setting up opportunities to impact the lives of ex-agitators, beyond dependence on N65,000 monthly stipends.
According to Ndiomu, “The initiatives that the PAP has so far introduced, will create windows of opportunities for ex-agitators to escape the prediction of the World Bank which estimates that over the next decade, one billion young people will try to enter the job market, but less than half of them will find formal jobs.
“The already floated PAP Cooperative Scheme for ex-agitators, Empowerment/Vocational Training and many more initiatives that are still in the pipeline, will solve poverty and change the negative narratives of the region,” he said.
Ndiomu, speaking further stated that over 700 ex-agitators have received funding in loans to undertake Agribusiness and other ventures, while 2500 applications are waiting to be processed.
According to him, the program recently sponsored a total number of 75 pilots and aircraft engineers to various aviation training organizations in Lagos, South Africa and France for type-rating courses as part of its aviation training scheme.
He said, “When late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua instituted the Presidential Amnesty Programme in 2009, the age range of ex-agitators who laid down their arms, was between 25 to 30. 14 years later, they have now hit an unemployable age range of between 50 to 55 years.”
With this reality in mind, Ndiomu stressed the PAP’s drive to channel the mindsets of ex-agitators away from formal employment and entitlement mentality, towards more viable and sustainable means of livelihood.