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ABUJA – Prof. Charles Dokubo, Special Adviser to the President and Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme, said on Wednesday that the birth of Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) has benefited Nigeria in no small measure, and stabilised the nation’s economy .
Without the programme, he said the activities of the militants in the oil rich Niger Delta would have grounded the economy and forced oil companies to quit the region, with adverse consequences for the sociopolitical wellbeing of the country.
He spoke at a media parley in Abuja, noting that the judicious application of about N67 billion annual Amnesty budget had equally benefited restive youths, especially ex-combatants, giving many a new lease of life.
Since coming on board, he said the number of ex-militants that graduated through the programme had risen to over 20, 000, with about 3, 243 presently undergoing training.
“5, 578 are at the same time awaiting training (this is because the PAP does the training in batches). With regards to education, a breakdown show that, of 2,577 persons are in school right now, 1,060 persons are studying in not less than 10 universities (both private and government) locally, while 1,517 are studying abroad in over 50 universities spread across Europe, Asia, Africa and Americas.”
According to Dokubo, of the roughly N5.5 billion monthly allocation received by the programme, about N2 .3 billion went into payment of school fees and the N65,000 monthly stipends, while the rest were expended on contracts and running of the offices.
On why the programme was still paying stipends to ex-combatants despite the training they received, he said until these youths were properly integrated into the larger society and empowered with sustainable employment, there was need to support them to prevent sliding back into their past behaviour.
“Payment of stipends will continue for the time being until it is replaced with effective way of life for the ex-combatants. They must first be functionally re-integrated before we leave them alone.
Source; Independent Newspapers Nigeria