The interim administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Major General Barry Ndiomu (rtd.) has disclosed that no fewer than 2,984 former Niger Delta militants are benefiting from the scheme’s scholarships.
Ndiomu added that a total of 2,881 former militants, who were beneficiaries, also graduated between 2018 and 2022.
The interim administrator said 121 ex-militants bagged first class in the last seven years.
Ndiomu was quoted as saying these at a meeting with traditional rulers under the auspices of the Association of Niger Delta Monarchs, according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Thomas Peretu, on Friday.
The statement partly reads, “We have recorded several successes in the educational pursuit of the dreams of ex-agitators and all other indigenes of the Niger Delta through the very robust scholarship schemes.” As of today, we have 2,984 students in training in various tertiary institutions across the country.
“We have also over these years, between 2015 and 2022, produced 121 first-class graduates at various levels of the scheme.” The total number of graduates between 2018 and 2022 is 2,881. From this number, we have 1,862 bachelor’s degree holders, 362 master’s degree holders, and 38 PhD holders. We also have about 53 students currently studying abroad.
Ndiomu, however, solicited the cooperation of traditional rulers in the ongoing reforms of the amnesty program, adding that as custodians of the culture and tradition of their people, they could deploy their enormous influence to propagate the new policy direction aimed at making PAP more impactful for the real beneficiaries.
He was quoted as saying, “I believe that through you, we can reach out to educate our people about the need to maximize the benefits of this program.” This program has already swallowed over a trillion naira. “I personally believe that if we had properly directed the resources, a lot more could have been achieved.”
Speaking further, the PAP administrator disclosed that he was seeking the approval of the Federal Government to commence the process of getting ex-agitators to form cooperatives as part of a deliberate policy to make them self-reliant.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman and General Coordinator of the Association of Niger Delta Monarchs of Nigeria, Frank Okurakpo, assured Ndiomu of their support in ensuring the success of his tenure.