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*Amnesty Office Partner Niger Delta Consultative Forum On Development of Region
As part of efforts to sustain the success of the Federal Government Amnesty programme for the Niger Delta region, stakeholders mainly leaders of thought and experts from the diaspora met at the weekend in Lagos to carry out a critical appraisal of the project with a view to fast tracking its completion.
The Niger Delta stakeholders summit, which was convened by the office of the special adviser to the president on Niger Delta matters, Kingsley Kuku and the Niger Delta Consultative Forum, provided another platform for intellectuals, administrators and all those with a stake on the project to examine many ways of seeing how the amnesty and related programmes could be latched upon as a vehicles to accelerate the socio- economic development of the region.
The conference being the second in the series comes, just as stakeholders on the project have designed a blueprint in all spheres of socio- ecomic development that will facilitate the development of the region.
The experts, according to Kuku will submit their recommendations after intense delibrations to the office of the president, with a follow up action on how to address issues germane to the development of the country.
Setting the tone for the programme, the national security adviser, Genereal Andrew Owoeye Azazi( rted), who was guest of honour urged people of the region and indeed all Nigerians to contribute their ideas and other inititive that will help to put the country on the path of enduring peace and socio- economic development.
Azazi explained that it is gratifying that at a time like these, when the countr is grappling with a litany of challenges, Nigerians should remain resolute to keep the country together, in an atmosphere where peace and development is the compass.
He explained that despite the signals emanating from Nigeria, some Ijaws in the diaspora have though it fit to work together with brilliant ideas to seek practical solutions to the problems of the country. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing its composite 8 states.
Azazi affirmed that because nationalistic sentiments are very strong, Nigerians should continue to seek solutions to the myraid of problems affecting the country, institing tht they both stand to loose and profit from the challenges the country is grappling with.
Also speaking while welcoming the stakeholders, Kuku explained that the relevance of the conference could be adduced to the reason that collective input gathering and analysis of the challenges of the region remains one of the cardinal strategies to forge peace and development for the country.
Kuku explained that it was a fall out of discussions at the conference last year that gave rise to the renewed vigour of the amnesty programme in training delegates in formal education as well as vocational and entreprenuerial skills, which has changed the face of the programme.
He explained that there was no better time to talk about the issues of development of the region, than now when the amnesty programme has brought peace and stability to the economy thereby increasing the daily crude oil export.
Kuku affirmed that the carrying of arms is no longer the prerequisite for enlistment in the youth empowerment programme packaged by the amnesty office, as the region could now boast of its indigenes undergoing several educational programmes in universities spread across the continents, as over 12,000 out of the 26, 358 youths who renounced violence have been placed for training both at home and across 23 countries.
Kuku however urged youth and opinion leaders from the region to consider ways and means of fast tracking the completion of training for all the ex- militants, considering that fact that anticipated or unanticipated developments may alter the programme.
He explained that it was imperative for the stakeholders to come up with training programmes that are key to the development of the people of the region, even as the amnesty office has opened a training desk for youth in the region to offer tailor made industry- demand training. Present at the two day, Niger Delta Consultative Forum were Lady Angio Briggs, Alhaji Mujaheed Dokubo- Asari, prominent Ijaw professions from the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
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