Nigeria send 96 of another 258 - Niger Delta ex- militants to the Philippines for Skill Trainings

(July 9, 2011 11:51 AM)

Lagos (WorldStage Newsonline)-- A total of 258 former Niger Delta militants are traveling this weekend to four different countries (Philippines, South Africa, India and Poland) for training in maritime, crane operations and pipe line wielding, through the post amnesty re-integration programme of the Federal Government.

The breakdown of the delegates are: 21 delegates for Maritime training in Poland, 44 delegates for diving in India, 96 delegates will fly to the Philippines for welding while 97 delegates will jet out to South Africa for welding and crane operations.

The Philippines is chosen to be the country for skills training of the 96 ex Delta militants as the world recognized the Philippines’ welding technology is advance and  the new skills they would learnt would be use for their new jobs back to Nigeria.

This new group brings to 857, youths who have been sent abroad for different programmes, either for skills acquisition or university education.

Special adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Hon. Kingsley Kuku in a short address at a send off ceremony in Lagos at the weekend spoke on government plans to facilitate jobs for some of the ex- militants.

He cautioned them on the need to be of good behaviour in their respective countries of training, warning that the slightest sense of misconduct will make him repatriate them and see them face justice.

He spoke of plans by government to facilitate jobs for some of the ex- militants that had completed their vocational training in South Africa, affirming that negotiations were on going with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency ( NIMASA), to engage the five divers that graduated from South Africa.

Kuku said : "Well the five divers that returned from South Africa after their training are yet to get jobs, we are in the process of communicating appropriately with Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency ( NIMASA), we have engaged NIMASA in some discussions, if the discussions go well, we will get jobs for the youth there.

"The oil companies will not foot drag, the Federal Government is doing all it can to persuade them to engage to do what is right, and what is right means, they must train our youths in their areas of demand, to the extent of absorbing them in the industry, we cannot force them, the average Niger Deltan wants to work in the major oil multinationals, the workforce needed by the major companies , is here, all they need is to train them in their areas of industrial demand and absorb them, after graduation, we will get experts who will look at the possibilities of post training engagements in compliance with the local content law, we will do all we can to engage those we can engage, and those who want to be on their own, we will also be encouraged through set up to be on their own."

Kuku explained that since the commencement of the of the re- integration phase of the program  in August 2010, more than 7,000 transformed ex- combatants had been allocated to both local and offshore training centers with more slated for educational and vocational training offshore.

He explained that only 26,358 ex-militants who accepted the Federal Government's amnesty program were officially recognized under the ongoing rehabilitation scheme.

He said the ongoing disarmament exercise in the Niger Delta was illegal and had nothing to do with the presidential proclamation being handled by the Amnesty Office.

He declared that as far as the Federal Government was concerned, the disarmament program conducted by the presidential committee on amnesty had been concluded on May 25, 2009.

He urged the Joint Task Force (JTF) to stop the purported disarmament exercise currently going on in the region in order to avoid disruption of the amnesty program.

“When amnesty was proclaimed on June 25, 2009 only 20,192 persons complied with the presidential directive. An additional list of 6,166 beneficiaries was registered later,” he said.

“For me, amnesty has ended in the Niger Delta. Only 26,358 persons accepted the amnesty and they are they ones recognized by the Federal Government.”

Story by Ayoola Ponmile (email -

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