The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) has changed its empowerment strategy for ex-agitators to reduce their over-dependence on monthly stipends.
The Interim Administrator, PAP, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), explained that PAP would henceforth adopt the South-East business model with a focus to transform delegates into skilled entrepreneurs and employable citizens.
Dikio in a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Media, Nneotaobase Egbe, said the new model was designed to make trainees contribute meaningfully to the economy of the Niger Delta region instead of relying on handouts.
Dikio, who described the new system as an end-to-end empowerment model, said that PAP would partner with organizations ready and capable of training its delegates, employing successful trainees and mentoring them to achieve post-training proficiency.
“Thereafter, they will be encouraged to branch out or own subsidiaries of the parent company. The catch is that since the delegates are potential employees, they will be well trained to fit into the company offering the training. Those who do not make it will have themselves to blame for a missed opportunity”, he said.
Dikio said the system would stop the current multiplicity of the same empowerment and substandard packages that were not in line with the vision for the Amnesty Programme.
He said: “We have designed a holistic high-quality empowerment package that will reduce delegates’ dependence on monthly stipends.
We cannot continue to say we are empowering our delegates and they cannot boast of anything to do or even find suitable jobs that suit the skills they have learnt.
“This is the model that is used by most businesses and organizations in the South – East and this has proven to be highly successful and effective”.
Dikio further explains that vendors, who wished to start their training and empowerment programmes for beneficiaries must obtain a letter of approval.
While addressing students under PAP’s scholarship programme, Dikio urged them to pursue entrepreneurial initiatives that would make them employers of labour instead of waiting for companies to engage them.
He told the students, who visited the PAP’s office on Thursday to resolve some issues bordering on partial scholarships, that they were expected to be innovative and good ambassadors of the Niger Delta.
While commending the students for choosing dialogue instead of agitation, Dikio said students were expected to go back to their communities after graduation to contribute to the development and economy of the region.
He said: “When you successfully complete your education, it is only right that you go back to your community and look for opportunities to create wealth. If you look for job and you do not find any, why not create a job and even become an employer of labour? Is it better to just wait around for somebody to find you jobs?
“We will support innovative ideas that will make the Niger Delta a better place. It is the vision of the PAP to contribute to the development of the Niger Delta and make the region the best place to live and do business in.
“If our graduates shift from entitlement mentality or dependence on stipends, take ownership of the region and become proactive, then the Niger Delta will be well on its way to a developed and better economy.”
Dikio advised the students to stay away from people with selfish and evil intentions for the Niger Delta adding that PAP was created to stabilize, consolidate and sustain security required to hasten the development of the region.