Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh, has said over five million people in Niger Delta have benefited from the initiative since 2009.
Gen. Boroh, who is the special adviser to the President on Niger Delta, spoke in Akure shortly after receiving an award as Niger Delta Peace Ambassador from the Nigeria Union of Journalists NUJ), Ondo State council.
He said the programme was initiated in 2009, following conflicts in the region.
Boroh said he cannot be specific on the amount the Federal Government spent in restoring peace in the area.
“For all I know, the programme has impacted on well over five million people in the region and aided efforts to achieve peace in the Niger Delta,’’ he said.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for sustaining the programme, saying this demonstrated his concern for Niger Delta.
Also, speaking at a town hall meeting with stakeholders from Ijaw communities in Olodiama at Gelegele in Ovia North Local Government Area of Edo State, Gen. Boroh urged ex-agitators in Niger Delta to work with communities in protecting national assets, such as oil and gas pipelines.
He said the Federal Government would sustain the peace in Niger Delta, adding that the involvement of youths in security and survelliance of oil and gas installations will end attacks on these installations in Niger Delta.
The Amnesty chief explained that modalities for engaging youths in pipelines security, among other assets in the region, is being discussed at higher levels of government.
He said the schedule for sensitising stakeholders on security of pipelines was being worked out by the appropriate agency for implementation.
Gen. Boroh noted that the feasibility study for a National Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme has been approved, in line with the United Nations-Paris Agreement on Gas Flare.
He said the first phase would focus on 48 identified onshore sites in Niger Delta, adding that the programme is intended to convert gas being flared for cooking and electricity, among other industrial uses.
The special adviser said “through the programme, about six million households in Niger Delta can access clean energy.
“It is projected to create 25,000 direct jobs and 300,000 indirect jobs. The programme is private sector-driven and investors are encouraged to key into it.
“The minister of state for Petroleum will kickstart a road show to sensitise stakeholders on the programme in September”, he explained.
On the establishment of community-based mini modular refineries in Niger Delta, he said the minister would do a roadshow to sensitise people on its policy direction.
Also speaking, a director in the Ministry of Wealth Creation, Cooperative and Employment, Mr. Festus Okougbo, said Governor Godwin Obaseki has set up a seven-man committee to prepare a blueprint for the development of a Seaport in Gelegele, adding: “the committee is about to submit its report. Plans are on the way also to set up an agro industrial park in Gelegele to drive the port for sustainability”.
An address by the Ama-Okosuwei of Gelegele Gbene and the state Ijaw National Congress (INC) on behalf of the Pere of Olodiama Kingdom, Alawei Wilson G Kororo, the Alagbalabinafa III and Ijaw communities, thanked President Muhammandu Buhari for sustaining Amnesty.
They said the state Ijaw communities have been denied fair share in the scheme of things, lamenting the absence of governments’ presence in the area despite their natural resources.
They appealed to the special adviser to facilitate the inclusion of some ex-agitators from Olodiama not captured in the programme, provision of skill acquisition centres in the five Ijaw clans, empowerment of beneficiaries from the communities, provision of slots for INC in the proposed pipeline security and surveillance jobs
Chairman of Gelegele community Milton Dennis, and the Women’s leader Mrs Ayodele Osia thanked Gen. Boroh for donating a borehole to the community, saying the gesture was a first in the area.