Kingsley Kuku, former Special Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has urged the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) Major General Barry Ndiomu (rtd) to revive and complete all Vocational Training Centers in the Niger Delta region.
Kuku who also served as Chairman of the PAP under the Jonathan administration, made particular reference to the vandalized Vocational Training Center in Kaiama, Kolokuma Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, carried out by hoodlums in 2019.
Making the passionate plea at the Presidential Amnesty Office in Abuja on Wednesday while he paid a courtesy visit to the Interim Administrator, Kuku regretted that the facility will undoubtedly cost billions of naira to revive.
“Bring back the center, no matter what it will cost you,” he said, adding that the facility when revived, can serve as advanced training centers for universities in the region, even beyond being a facility for training ex-agitators.
Kuku commended late President Umar Yar’Adua, ex-Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, as well as incumbent President Bola Tinubu for the creation and sustenance of the Programme respectively.
On malicious media attacks against Ndiomu, Kuku urged the Interim Administrator to remain steadfast in his “commendable” resolve to impact lives in the Niger Delta. “Nobody will thank you or appreciate you as Interim Administrator. The only thing you will get are abuses. But they will thank you tomorrow,” Kuku added.
Commending the Aviation Resuscitation Programme for Pilots/Aircraft Maintenance Engineers under which some of the beneficiaries are currently undergoing their Type-rating Certification Programme in South Africa, he said, “In today’s Aviation Industry, any Pilot without Type-rating is nothing. You are touching lives. After what you are doing for them now, they will get jobs easily”.
He expressed delight that Ndiomu has brought back hope to the Niger Delta, and assured of his unalloyed support towards sustaining the gains of the Amnesty Programme.
Earlier in his remarks, General Ndiomu told Kuku that his administration is resolutely building on many of his legacies, adding that the enormous number of graduates under the Amnesty Scheme today, can be traced to his (Kuku’s) doggedness to better the lives of ex-agitators.
The Interim Administrator regretted that after such hard work and efforts put in by Kuku, it is “disappointing” and “embarrassing” that his administration came on board and inherited huge debts. “For me, it was a bit irresponsible and reckless. But I came in here to surmount these challenges,” he said.
While noting that the Amnesty Programme has not fully lived up to its objectives, Ndiomu recommended a possible transition of the scheme into “a Social Investment Agency” to directly impact the lives of youths in the region.
Ndiomu futher lamented the vandalization of the Kaiama Vocational Training Center in Bayelsa. He disclosed that when completed, the Vocational Training Center in Agadagba-Obon in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State will be named after Kuku.
The Amnesty Office also disclosed that 106 out of over 800 beneficiaries have been trained and certified in various digital skills, in its partnership with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). This is as over 600 are currently undergoing various digital courses.