No fewer than 177 persons profiled from various communities for each of the 20 distribution centres across states in the Niger Delta have benefitted from the amnesty programme.
The Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Prof. Charles Dokubo, disclosed this in a statement issued by Mr Murphy Ganagana, Special Assistant Media on Sunday in Abuja.
Dokubo during the inauguration of the empowerment programme in Abonnema, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State said the gesture was a show of President Muhammadu Buhari’s love for people of the oil-rich regions.
He listed items given to the beneficiaries for various trade to include: welding equipment, tailoring equipment, catering equipment, freezers and generators of different sizes.
According to him, the exercise which involves thousands of recipients drawn from various communities in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Cross Rivers, Imo, Ondo, Akwa Ibom and Abia state, commenced in Warri, Delta state on Feb. 8.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is conversant with the unpleasant situation of the Niger Delta people and he is committed to turning around the narrative.
“President Buhari loves you and will ensure that the Niger Delta is stabilised and get its right place in the country, especially in terms of infrastructural development.
“The fact that he sustained the Amnesty Programme despite intense pressure from some quarters is an evidence of his love for the Niger Delta people.
“I urge you to turn out en-mass in the forthcoming elections to cast your ballot and return him for a second term to enable him do more for our people”.
He warned recipients against selling what they got, urging them to make judicious use of them to earn a living.
Dokubo explained that this was a special empowerment for people who were not among the 30, 000 beneficiaries captured in the programme.
He said it was meant for people in crises impacted communities in the Niger Delta, adding that the programme was for all the people of Niger Delta.
“Some residents in various communities from Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa states, had benefitted from the distribution held in Warri, Opukiri, Ogwashukwu, Abonnema, Degema and Buguma.
“The programme continues in other centres including Gelegele and Auchi in Edo State, Yakkur/Calabar South, Cross River State; Eket/Ikot-Ikpene, Akwa Ibom State; and Ohaji Egbema/Owerri in Imo State.
“Others are Ilaje/Okitikpupa, Ondo State, as well as Ukwa East/West and Umuahia North/South, Abia State”, he said.
Speaking on behalf of the recipients of items at Warri distribution centre, the community leader in Ogbeinbin, Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, Chief Solomon Ogumogu, commended Dokubo for the initiative.
“We are happy for what is happening here today and what we are seeing physically.
“Since the beginning of the Amnesty Programme in 2009 we have never experienced anything like this before.
“Why am saying this is that the Amnesty Programme was targeted at those involved in the armed struggle, the people that carried arm, fighting for their freedom, but majority of communities in the Niger Delta have been neglected.
“No coordinator of amnesty programme had ever remembered people in the Niger Delta, who did not carry arms but today we are thanking Dokubo for remembering communities affected, while militancy lasted,” he said.
In Degema, Rivers State, the traditional ruler, King Reuben Amos, Peika V11, urged the Federal Government to sustain and adequately fund the programme for effective transformation of the Niger Delta.
He commended Dokubo for his vision and fresh initiatives including the inauguration of the Basic Skills Oil and Gas Vocational Training Centre at Agadagba-Obon, Ondo State, and the Vocational Training Centre, Kaiama, scheduled to be launched on Thursday, February 14.