From Steve Oko, Umuahia
Repentant militants from Niger Delta have told the Federal Government that they were tired of being sponsored for various vocational trainings without any take-off grant to be self-employed at the end of such exercises.
Some of the ex-militants from Bayelsa State currently undergoing training on poultry and fishery in Abia State under the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) expressed their displeasure on the issue in an interview with The AUTHORITY on Tuesday in Umuahia.
They are being trained at the Abia State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) on agricultural enterprises under the Amnesty scheme.
The participants said that they laid down their arms and embraced peace but regretted that the Federal Government has failed to fulfil its promises under the Amnesty deal.
According to them, the government only resort to organising vocational trainings for them without any cash backing to enable them establish their business.
One of the 50 delegates from Bayelsa to the training, Mr. Egberix Zebeulon, said that he had already acquired enough training at Peter University, Warri as an underwater welder and ocean diver under the Amnesty programme.
He said that what he needed were diving kits and not fresh training on poultry, which he lamented, was completely outside his career.
Zebeulon said: “After training as a diver and underwater welder, I thought the government will empower me with diving kits and money to set up my own company. What am going to do here now as a poultry farmer?
“I don’t know why the Federal Government prefers to keep training Niger Delta youths on different vocations instead of empowering us with money after the trainings,” he lamented.
Another ex- militant, Mr. Toru Baike, said that he had attended so many sponsored vocational trainings under the Amnesty programme, but regretted that the government had not given him any financial support to set up his business.
He said: “I have acquired enough training on fishery but the government has failed to empower me with money to start my business. I need about N10 million to set up my fishery business and also help in training others.
“What I think the government should do is to empower those already trained instead of training them over and over on different vocations. I am okay with fishery what will I do again with poultry when I have no money?”
But, another ex- militant, Mr. Diefah Brown, said that he had no problem undergoing training on poultry, but urged the government to give them financial support at the end of the exercise.
The anchor of the training and a consultant to the President on Amnesty Programme, Comrade Abangwu Cletus, said that 36,000 youths from the Niger Delta states were targeted for the programme since 2009.
He explained that the current exercise was meant for the ex- militants who had really surrendered their weapons but were not captured in the previous programmes.
From Steve Oko, Umuahia