the President on Niger Delta Matters, Kingsley Kuku, held a pre-departure briefing with the contingents at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, describing the benefitting batch as lucky, as they were the largest to be deployed for educational training in the UK.
Mr. Kuku advised the beneficiaries to be good ambassadors of Nigeria in their host countries by abiding by the laws and concentrating on their studies, warning that the Presidential Amnesty Programme for youths in the Niger Delta has zero tolerance for misconduct.
The Adviser noted that on completion of their training, the skills of the participants would be relevant in the operations of the oil and gas industry, particularly the new private refineries that would be coming on stream soon.
He recalled that about 690 delegates had in the past been repatriated and reprimanded for various infractions committed during similar programmes overseas, warning that government would not tolerate any repeat of such behaviours.
“About 2,000 delegates have been empowered by the office following their successes in their various training programmes, and were provided with business start-up packages,” he said.
“Also, 174 others have been offered direct employment in various public and private onshore and offshore organizations, while 1,190 women had also been placed at specialised skill acquisition centres.
Mr. Kuku said that some of those who trained in aviation services were being offered jobs as instructors in some training centres abroad, adding that the programme was scheduled to come to an end by 2015.
From inception, he said the programme was designed to run for five years, a time he believed should not be altered, with the Amnesty office planning to train about 4,000 Niger Delta youths in 2013; 6,000 in 2014, and another 6,000 in 2015.
He advised state governments in the Niger Delta region to commence youth engagement and empowerment programmes for their citizens, adding that by 2016, all states in the Niger Delta must take up the responsibility of designing programmes that would empower youths and women in their states.
Out of the current 186 delegates, 60 would undergo a 12-month vocational training in South Africa as emergency medical technicians, otherwise known as `offshore medics’, while the remaining 126 delegates would undergo educational training in tertiary institutions in Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
The latest batch of delegates brings to about 16,683 the number of ex-militants sent for training in educational and vocational institutions abroad since the Amnesty programme started in 2010.