By Udeme Ekwere, Punch
Monday, September 16, 2013
Kingsley Kuku, Special Adviser to the president on Niger Delta Affairs
The Federal Government is set to terminate the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme by 2015, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Matters, Hon. Kingsley Kuku, has said.
Kuku, however, said government had put in place machinery to ensure that over 10,000 ex-militants passed through various educational and vocational trainings within and outside the country before the termination of the programme in 2015.
The special adviser spoke during the departure ceremony for 186 ex-militants that left the country through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos for training in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, and South Africa.
Kuku said the batch of 186 delegates brought to 16,683 the number of ex-militants so far sent for offshore and local training since the programme started in 2010.
“By 2015, this programme would be winding up because it has a terminal date; we are pursuing this doggedly. From inception, the programme was designed to run for five year which we believe should not be altered,” he said.
The amnesty programme was established by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua to rehabilitate ex-militants who renounced fighting and surrendered their weapons under the Federal Government’s terms for ceasefire.
“We train about 4,000 in 2013. In 2014 we will train 6,000; and in 2015, we will have less than 6,000 to train. This is novel and we do not need to delay our work to remain in office. That is not our vision,” Kuku added.
He said that out of the 186 latest batch, 60 would undergo a 12-month vocational training in South Africa as emergency medical technicians, while the remaining 126 will be studying various courses in tertiary institutions in the UK and Ireland.
According to him, the latest batch of delegates is the largest to be sent for training in the UK, describing it as a unique opportunity.
Kuku urged the delegates to be good ambassadors of Nigeria by abiding by the laws of the host countries.
While re-iterating the Amnesty Office’s zero tolerance for misconduct, the special adviser disclosed that over 690 delegates had been repatriated and reprimanded for various misconducts during their training.