The Presidential Amnesty Programme on Niger Delta yesterday disclosed that it would soon pay the 2016 stipends and allowances of ex-militants.The Coordinator of the programme, Brig-General Paul Boroh (rtd), said in a statement that the documents needed for the payment had been prepared.
He said the amnesty office had concluded an arrangement with the finance ministry, budget office, accountant general’s office and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the issue.
The statement by the Media and Communication Consultant, Owei Lakemfa, said the office had been given the assurance that the funds would be released soon.
According to him, the expected funds would cover the stipends, training, education, vocation and empowerment of the beneficiaries.
Boroh, who is the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, disclosed that the 2017 stipends would not be paid yet because this year’s budget was yet to be implemented.
He commended the ex-militants for their patience and promised that the 2017 stipends would be paid earlier since it was captured in the budget.The coordinator advised them to explore the Federal Government’s support for agriculture, such as the Central Bank’s Anchor Borrowers Programme and those of the Bank of Industry.
He disclosed that the amnesty programmes has provisions in agriculture and aquatic farming, which were being gradually expanded to cover all the beneficiaries.
“In line with the amnesty programme’s focus on agriculture, 400 beneficiaries would be empowered as farm owners. The multiplier effects would be the creation of 1,600 direct job opportunities for farm workers.
“ Another 800 jobs would be created in the logistics and processing of farm produce to generate N2.3 billion turnover per annum,” Boroh said.He explained that the programme had trained 208 beneficiaries in 2016 in agriculture, while 59 were trained as pilots and aeronautical engineers. Also, 120 people were trained in automobile, 70 in electronics and 80 in plastic technology.
Among other areas where they were also trained are maritime, 146, scaffolding/rigging, 36, transformer repairs and maintenance, 25, information communication technology, 70 and heavy duty equipment, 63.He added that a total of 1,135 beneficiaries graduated from foreign and local universities with 34 of them in first class and 105 in second class.