Amnesty Programme: Senators, Reps laud Dokubo


…on commissioning of vocational training centre

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Senator Peter Nwabushi said at the weekend that the upper chamber of the National Assembly is proud of the achievements of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, within his short period in office. He pledge more support from the federal legislature to uplift the Programme to greater heights.

Nwabuchi, who spoke at the commissioning of the Oil and Gas Basic Skills Vocational Training Centre, Agadagba-Obon, Ese Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State on Friday, commended Dokubo for his prudent management of funds allocated to the Amnesty Programme and his transparency.

“The Presidential Amnesty Programme which was established in the year 2009 has had four chief executives as Special Advisers/Coordinators. Of all the four, I can confidently say that the present Coordinator has been very proactive and eager to realize the mandate of the Programme. By this, I mean he always rubbed minds with the National Assembly in coming up with activities that will move the organization forward. In his short time in office, he has really demonstrated capacity to transform the Niger Delta region for sustainable development. Our committee is very pleased with his efforts; he is a square peg in a square hole”, said the senate committee chairman who was represented at the occasion by his deputy, Senator Baba Kaka Bashiru.

He added: “The Coordinator has demonstrated that he has nothing to hide by always seeking to synergize with the National Assembly and indeed, with the entire stakeholders to achieve set objectives. Last year, the committee recommended N65billion Naira which was passed in year’s appropriation. When we visited his office, he was able to bring a report to us which encapsulated so many reports of what he has achieved in the Niger Delta. We are very proud of him. This year, our committee will do more to improve on the achievements of the agency. It is in consideration of his good work that we are here to grace this occasion. No doubt, the vocational training centre will impact positively on this community, the local government, this state; the Niger Delta region and the nation. We are very proud of the Special Adviser and his hardworking team”.

Speaking on behalf of members of the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta, Hon. Istiphanus Gyang, said the Amnesty Programme was designed to train and empower youths in the oil-rich region, noting that the Oil and Gas Basic Skills Vocational Training Centre will profitably engage some beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme in the oil industry. “We at the National Assembly have supported the initiative with appropriation and funding. We are therefore glad today that the sound we created is attracting the needed value as we have seen in this place”.

Earlier, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo said the Oil and Gas Basic Skills Training Centre is set to commence building human capacity to fill gaps in the lower and middle cadre levels of the highly competitive oil and gas sector of the nation’s economy.

“In line with global best practices, the Amnesty Office has developed training curriculum for the centre. It was designed by a team of experts from the United Kingdom for the proper certification of the trainees as approved by the National Board for Technical Education (NABTE). In a further bid to achieve the requisite industry training standards and the right certification, the Amnesty Office has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) in Effurun, Delta State, to handle the core training components. Pursuant to the MOU, faculty members from the PTI shall drive the training of the Amnesty Programme’s delegates in this new facility in specialized fields in oil and gas drilling”.

Describing President Muhammadu Buhari as a forthright and incorruptible leader who resisted pressure from some quarters to wind up the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Dokubo said the commissioning of the training centre was a celebration of another promise that has been kept by the President and an indication that Buhari loves the people of Niger Delta.

“Let me place on record that we are able to achieve all these because of the staunch and unalloyed support President Muhammadu Buhari has been giving the Amnesty Programme and the Niger Delta as a whole. On his fatherly watch, we have since re-worked the Programme to focus on not just training but also job creation and empowerment of already trained beneficiaries. I can confirm to all stakeholders gathered here today that President Buhari loves the Niger Delta and its people and I urge you all to give Mr. President your full support as he seeks to take our great country to the next level”.

Dokubo disclosed that the Oil and Gas Basic Skills Vocational Training Centre, Agadagba is among five training facilities kick-started by his predecessors since 2012 across states in the Niger Delta but abandoned at various stages.” I met five of such centres in several stages of abandonment. Other than the one we are commissioning today (Friday), the others are sited at Kaiama, Bayelsa State; Obuama, Rivers State, Bomadi, Delta State and Gelegele, in Edo State. It is my candid view that with the speedy completion and activation of these vocational training centres, the training of ex-agitators still awaiting reintegration would be fast-tracked at highly reduced costs to the Federal Government”.

He said 200 beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme have been profile to commence training at the Oil and Gas Vocational Training Centre, Agadagba, which is equipped with world-class facilities.

In his remarks, Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, noted that the Amnesty Programme has not only impacted on the lives of individuals, but also transformed the entire Niger Delta region especially in human capacity building and empowerment, thereby deepening peace area.

Akeredolu who was represented at the occasion by his deputy, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, said the completion and commissioning of the Oil and Gas Basic Skills Vocational Training Centre, Agadabga-Obon was a wonderful feat achieved by Prof. Dokubo, and commended for sustaining the vision and objectives of the initiators of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

“I thank you, not because you are here but because you have shown to everybody that you are really a Professor. We want you to continue to do that. All the ongoing programmes you met on board when you came in, you are not just following them but you have made sure that you finished all of them. I am sure that today’s event will go a long way. There is no how we are going to write story and history of the Amnesty Programme in Nigeria that the name of Professor Charles Dokubo will not be there. I commend you for this wonderful feat that you have achieved; this Programme has not just impacted on the lives of individuals, it has transformed the entire Niger Delta states in the area of capacity building”.

While counting the gains of the Amnesty Programme and Dokubo’s efforts at deepening peace in the hitherto restive Niger Delta region, Governor Akeredolu said it has drastically improved crude oil production and the Federal Government’s revenue. “The Niger Delta people are not violent; if Government show attention and care to our people, the Niger Delta people, they are ready to embrace peace and see that things work the way they are done in other civilised world. If you look at the Programme since inception, you must appreciate the fact it has not only impacted on individuals but it has also improved the revenue drive of the Federal Government with increased production of our crude oil”.

He urged the National Assembly to ensure that the Amnesty Programme is well funded, even as he expressed appreciation to the Federal Government on its drive towards empowering youths of the Niger Delta.

Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi Adeyeye 11, declared the Presidential Amnesty Programme under the leadership of Prof. Charles Dokubo as a success story which he is proud to be associated with. He said God has used Dokubo to pilot affairs at the Amnesty Programme in the right direction.

Speaking on the sidelines at the occasion, Oba Adeyeye said the fully equipped world-class facility built for the training of beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme in oil and gas related skills, will enhance the development of youths in the Niger Delta and the nation at large.

“When you see something that is good, especially to develop the youth of this nation, most especially the people of Niger Delta, I am very proud to be associated with such initiatives. It is created for them to learn more about what is good and coming from their environment. So, I am here to be part of a successful story. I thank God almighty for using the leadership of Prof. Dokubo to put these things right. He has been able to complete it. I am very happy because of what he said today; that today (Friday) is his happiest day since he took this appointment up. If we have more of good things like these in this country, we will live to enjoy our youth. So, I am here to support them, and for them to continue to do well.

“What I have seen here, we need to let the whole country know more about this centre. So, my advice is for us to have a better orientation and for us to have a better reach. Of course, the country wants to see more initiatives like this. I wish the Coordinator, Prof. Dokubo, well and the very best for him to continue to do good things like this. We need to create more awareness on this facility. I am here now; I have a very large youth followership in Nigeria and I will let them know about the facility, that they should be coming. God will continue to bless Nigeria”.