The Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd) and the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen Lucky Irabor, have deliberated on the need to sustain the peace in the Niger Delta region. A statement signed by Dikio’s Special Adviser, Media, Nneotaobase Egbe, said the duo were particularly concerned about creating the enabling environment in the region to make the Niger Delta a preferred destination for investors and visitors. Speaking when he led senior officials of PAP to pay a courtesy visit to the CDS in Abuja, Dikio reeled out his plans for the ex-agitators and the strategies he adopted to actualise the mandate of the amnesty programme. He said his mission was to maintain stability in the region through constant engagements of all the stakeholders of PAP and prompt payment of stipends to ex-agitators. He told the CDS that his back-to-the region tour had enabled the amnesty office to understand the challenges and fears of the ex-agitators. He said he was preoccupied with helping the ex-agitators to embrace entrepreneurship, become employers of labour and live above the fixated mentality of N65,000 monthly stipend. Dikio further bemoaned the habit of blocking major roads in the region for protests at the slightest provocation saying the trend was negatively impacting on businesses. He said part of his mission was to change people’s negative perceptions about Niger Delta to give room for businesses and wealth creation but regretted that constant protests were still giving the region a bad name. The amnesty boss said he had also changed the training model of ex-agitators placing emphasis on mentorship and employment. “One of the mission goals of this administration is to change the narrative and make Niger delta a safe place to live and do business. Protests and other obstructive activities will utterly obstruct this from being actualized. “Strategic plans have been put in place to implement the training, mentorship and employment philosophy. We hope that beneficiaries after being trained will be involved in several industries and on the long run, they will be empowered to start off their own businesses”. While receiving the amnesty boss, the CDS commended him for all his efforts to sustain the peace in the Niger Delta. He noted that the Interim Administrator has injected a lot of value into the programme and made the work of the armed forces and the other security apparatus easier. He urged ex- agitators to shun incessant protests in the interest of the region’s development and economic growth. He said such violent attitude was capable of doing permanent harm to the Niger Delta, adding: “oil might finish but the damage will remain in the region”.

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