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Niger Delta ex-agitators advocate integration into military, federal agencies for employment

Stakeholders call for holistic approach to ex-agitators' reintegration amid concerns over training programs' efficacy

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Tonye Bobo, a prominent figure leading the Third Phase amnesty programme, has voiced a compelling argument for the integration of ex-agitators from the Niger Delta region into the military and federal agencies as a means of providing gainful employment. In an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Yenagoa, Bobo underscored the imperative of fully engaging former militants, emphasizing that mere training without subsequent employment amounted to a waste of resources and time.

Bobo’s assertion reflects a growing sentiment among stakeholders that the primary objective of training programs for ex-agitators is to facilitate their seamless integration into society. However, he lamented that this goal remains largely unfulfilled, leading to continued grievances among former militants. Highlighting the prolonged lack of employment opportunities for ex-agitators, Bobo urged authorities to prioritize their reintegration efforts.

In addressing the challenges facing the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Bobo proposed a significant increase in the monthly stipend provided to ex-agitators, citing the escalating economic realities faced by beneficiaries. He argued that the current stipend of N65,000 was inadequate and called for an increment to N150,000 to alleviate financial hardships.

Regarding the recent calls for the sack of Dr. Dennis Otuaro, the newly appointed Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Bobo urged patience and cautioned against premature judgments. He expressed confidence in Otuaro’s commitment to the welfare of Niger Delta residents, highlighting strategic engagements with stakeholders and forthcoming visits to key community leaders.

Echoing Bobo’s sentiments, Alhaji Letugbene, the National Vice Chairman of the Third Phase of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, reaffirmed their trust in Otuaro’s leadership. Letugbene emphasized Otuaro’s personal involvement in the region’s struggle, citing it as a testament to his understanding of the community’s needs and aspirations.

As the debate surrounding the reintegration of ex-agitators continues to gain momentum, stakeholders like Bobo and Letugbene advocate for a comprehensive approach that addresses both economic empowerment and social inclusion. Their calls for meaningful employment opportunities underscore the urgency of bridging the gap between training initiatives and sustainable livelihoods for Niger Delta residents.

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