The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) says it is set to facilitate the employment of 350 graduates from the Niger Delta area.
The Interim Administrator of PAP, Gen. Barry Tariye Ndiomu, made this known at a news conference on Thursday in Abuja.
He said when he assumed office over three months ago, he observed the number of ex-agitators and impacted communities that had benefitted from either scholarship scheme or the vocational training programmes.
“We realise that less than one per cent are gainfully employed. And that is totally at cross purposes with whatever was intended of the amnesty programme.
“I visited the Head of the Federal Civil Service of the Federation because we have about 350 beneficiaries. They are not necessarily ex agitators.
“But the important thing is that they may be classified as those who benefitted on the basis of the impacted community concept.
“However, these 350 individuals from Niger Delta are very brilliant with first class and second class upper degrees.
“The Federal Government at the time, decided that they should be employed in various Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies. And this was supposed to happen in 2017,” he said.
The PAP boss explained that till now, none of them had been employed, in spite of the presidential directive to that effect.
He said he had audience with the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, adding that as a follow up, he was trying to make contact with the office of the Vice President, because it was also very much involved in trying to ensure that these 350 youths from Niger delta were gainfully employed.
“As a matter of fact, they had actually been distributed to various federal ministries. The numbers were stated in correspondences. So I realised that I needed to give it that particular push which I can show you some progress.
“The Head of Civil Service of the Federation is very kind and magnanimous. She is looking into it.
” I believe that by the time the vice president gets involved, I am positive that before long, we will have these 350 individuals gainfully employed in various ministries of the federal civil service.”
Ndiomu noted that on assumption of duty, he had a clear mandate from the Office of the National Security Adviser on what was expected of him to do.
According to him, there is a clear directive to put an end to our contract awards.
“And of course, that also meant that we had to discontinue the award of scholarships and other programmes other than the ongoing programmes that we have.
“Now, the idea behind that directive was to enable me, in the new dispensation, to take stock of the activities of the PAP and to see how we could bring the programme back to actualising its original magnets at the time.
“The programme was supposed to terminate in 2015, but some things happened; the numbers of ex-agitators kept increasing until eventually the concept of impacted communities was introduced.
“And that further expanded the number of ex-agitators that was initially captured and I believe personally, it was from that point that the programme started to deviate from its original vision.
“This is because, the figures of ex-agitators kept increasing from about over 19,000 until it got up to 30,000. There were other reasons given for that initiation exclusion of others,” he said.
The PAP boss further explained that on the scholarship schemes, the beneficiaries were not even the agitators; it became more or less like a social welfare programme that cut across the entire Niger Delta.
He added that one of the directives in the mandate given him was to carry out an audit and education audit to ascertain the number of Niger Delta ex-agitators that had been trained in the educational institutions across the country and overseas.
He added that the audit programme was still ongoing.
“However, we have just received the report of the education audit. We are studying it at the moment, but I think, snippets of it, I can give for now is that three quarters of the beneficiaries are not the actual agitators that the programme was intended to get,” he said.