Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom, has suggested commercial fishing as one of the ways of getting ex-agitators and beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) out of the N65,000 stipend regime.
Emmanuel offered the state’s Ebughu Fishery Terminal to PAP and urged the Interim Administrator, PAP, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd) to take advantage of the platform and engage ex-agitators into large-scale fish production.
A statement signed on Friday by Dikio’s Special Adviser, Media, Neotaobase Egbe, said the governor spoke when the amnesty boss paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Uyo.
He said engaging ex-agitators into commercial fishing would create wealth and end restiveness in the Niger Delta region.
He said: “I am one of those who believe that the stipends is not the solution to the whole programme. We have Ebughu Fisheries Terminal that has been dormant over the years, these are assets if reactivated and put into use would have helped in this amnesty programmes, stipends will not go anywhere.
“How can we sit back and design something that is home grown that will take these people off the stipends? This is because the day you leave without paying them the stipends again, they will be at the government house gate to tell me you have not paid, but the issue is can we take these guys off the street? The answer is yes there are various ways.
“If Amnesty can invest some money into this Ebughu Fisheries only God knows how much we can make, what stops amnesty from putting a trawler in our deep sea, only God knows how many people it can engage in that deep sea.”
Emmanuel endorsed the vision and plans of Dikio to give ex-agitators sustainable economic empowerment.
He particularly appreciated an aspect of the plan designed to enable ex-agitators explore other economic potential of the region instead of depending mainly on the N65,000 monthly stipend.
He called on ex-agitators and beneficiaries of the programme to grab the opportunity offered them by Dikio and develop other economic potential in the region.
Emmanuel thanked Dikio for acknowledging his work in the state and commended him for adding value to the region since he assumed office as the Interim Administrator.
Earlier in his speech, Dikio applauded the governor’s strides especially in floating the Ibom Air, which he described as a trailblazer.
He futher congratulated the governor for the crowning of Akwa Ibom United as the Nigeria’s Premier league champion.
Dikio said he planned to key into the human capital development of Akwa Ibom by seeking opportunities in the state to train ex-agitators.
“Akwa Ibom is known for its human capital development. Others are agriculture and financing, particularly microfinance banks. The industrial strenght of Akwa Ibom is well known so we have come to key into all these for the ex-agitators”, he said.
The amnesty boss insisted that his major vision was to turn ex-agitators into successful entrepreneurs and job creators, who would look beyond N65,000 montly stipends.
He said: “Over the years, many of our people have been trained and they have all been added to the pool of the unemployed. We are looking out for big business concerns where our people can be trained.
“PAP will pay for the training but with the understanding that our people will employ and mentor afterwards. We are adopting the Igbo apprentiship system so that at the end of the day it’s a win-win for everybody”.