By Sarah Akuma, Warri

The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Quaker Dokubo has warned against acts that could lead to short-change and exploitation of Niger Delta youth, just as he stressed the urgent need to allow women and youth to participate at all level of policy and decision-making for a great and healthy democracy.

Prof. Charles Dokubo who was represented by the Head of Presidential Amnesty Vocational Skills Training Centre, Boro-town, Orubiri in Kolokuma/Opokuma local government area of Bayelsa state, Jude Gbaboyor Akpodubakaye, during the handing over business starter packs to sixty trained ex-agitators at Wellington hotel Warri, Delta State, reiterated the need for vocational schools to develop course contents that would help girls and boys acquire competitive skills needed for full participation in the workforce, family, and community life.

According to the Amnesty boss, the ongoing empowerment programme for trained ex-agitators in the Niger Delta region was part of an inclusive reintegration process of thirty thousand ex-agitators captured in the Presidential Amnesty Programme into their communities with viable sources of livelihood to them participate in the local economy in a civil environment.

He therefore advised the beneficiaries to make good use of their empowerment package to start new life styles, adding that the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Programme would do everything possible to protect their interests through partnerships and collaborations with relevant stakeholder financial institutions to encourage successful entrepreneurs, should such needs arise in the course of their businesses.

In his opening remarks, chairman of the occasion and former Niger Delta Liaison Officer of the Presidential Amnesty Programme and Publisher of The Blue Economy Online Newsmagazine, Abuja, Mr. Piriye Kiyaramo, advised the beneficiaries to always seek counsel while engaging in their various business ventures, noting that the empowerment of the Niger Delta ex-agitators was part of a holistic and inclusive sustainable reintegration process to achieve lasting peace in the region.

He maintained that a socio-economic reintegration strategy needs to be effectively linked to a long term sustainable recovery process by not only targeting individuals but by building local and national capacities to ensure that the reintegration evolves into further reconstruction and rapid socio-economic development at the grassroots.

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for sustaining the Amnesty programme, the former regional liaison officer of the Amnesty progamme, applauded the doggedness of Prof. Charles Dokubo in ensuring that the beneficiaries of the programme were economically empowered, just as he thanked the Amnesty Coordinator for introducing intellectual dimension to the various training programmes on assumption of office.

In their reaction, two beneficiaries of the empowerment scheme, Mr. Sunny Gbokumagba Gbofiebia and Esther Oghenewarie, thanked the federal government and coordinator of the Amnesty Programme for fulfilling the promise to empower them after their trainings. They also promised to be good ambassadors of the programme, adding that the items given to them would enable them to start their businesses.

The empowerment packages range from complete set of welding and fabrication equipment and accessories for welding business, general goods worth millions of naira, generator sets, refrigerators, office tables, sign posts with their business names, certificate of registration of their various business names, complementary cards and cash.

The sixty beneficiaries were earlier trained and subsequently being empowered by four vendors with the Presidential Amnesty office, Ninestar Resources Limited, Vicarms Horizon & Logistics Limited, Moriah & Goshen Brooks Limited and Royal Shphire & Gems.

Sarah Akuma, Warri.

The Blue Economy Online Newsmagazine, Abuja