The special Adviser on Niger Delta to the President and Co-ordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programmes Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh yesterday said about N34 billion was spent in the last three years on overseas training for Niger Delta youths.
Gen. Boroh added that following his presentation last week at the United Nations, the body urged the Presidential Amnesty Programme to extend its programme to Cote d Voire.
He spoke at the opening of the Third Quarterly Meeting of Ministers of Niger Delta Affairs, Petroleum Resources, Niger Delta governors, as well as oil and gas companies at the Office of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, in Abuja.
A Draft Report on a Work Plan for the region covering 2017 to 2019 was unveiled.
Gen. Boroh said: “Most of last week, I was at the United Nations headquarters, New York City in the United States of America for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and I showed them what we have being doing in the Niger Delta.
“By the time I finished and gave them our compendium, they were amazed. They were happy and they asked us to be on standby to help in resolving the militancy in Cote d’Ivoire. That means the world is aware of what we are doing to achieve stability and development in Niger Delta.
“Cote d’Ivoire government is going to contact the Nigerian government and they will call on us to tell them the platform which we put in place towards achieving peace in the region.
“It is an expensive programme, no doubt about it. Peace is expensive. It is better imagined, we will do everything to ensure we achieve that to prevent conflict. I have seen conflict, violent conflict for that matter, and I don’t want to see it again in our country.
“Let us do all we can to achieve peace by ensuring that meetings of this nature are attended with open mind and discuss objectively on how best we can resolve our differences. Let me just give an instance of what Federal Government has spent on the area of education on the Presidential Amnesty Programme. The least amount in the last three years is about N34 billion.
“That is why you hear of graduation in the United Kingdom, graduation in USA, graduation in Philistine, South Africa. It is huge. This year alone, the Federal Government has graduated 177 beneficiaries from the Presidential Amnesty Programme in the United States, and 140 beneficiaries from United Kingdom.
“Calculate that in pounds sterling and U.S. dollars, it is expensive. Please, let us appreciate the Federal Government for what it is doing towards ensuring peace and stability and development of Niger Delta.”
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Pastor Usani Uguru Usani said: “But today, we are able to see a draft report of the 2017 to 2019 work plan. We are not saying action plan or master plan, we are saying work plan.
“That means by this plan, our work will be guided. So we are not just formulating what we will do, we are now talking about how we will do it, where we will do it, who will do it. That is why it’s called a work plan for one and half years-between 2017 and 2019.
“Here, we have established input from the party doing development, helping us to carry out careful analysis on which oil company is taking action where, which party is acting where to be able to align our interests and make sure we eliminate all forms of duplication.
“So, first choice is tied to the interest of the organisation in carrying out development, which is going to be put up in tabular form so that in this regard we can know exactly what or which company is doing well.
“On our agenda, we are also domesticating oil and gas business in the region. By that, I want you to have confidence. We have several complaints oil companies not carrying out businesses in their location of operation.”