The Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programmed (PAP), retired Col. Milland Dixon Dikio on Monday advised ex-Niger Delta agitators to embrace entrepreneurship to move beyond the mentality of receiving N65,000 monthly stipends.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that Dikio advised while speaking to leaders of the second phase amnesty programmed in Yenagoa.
Mikio regretted that the ex-agitators had allowed the stipends to become their limitation restricting them from harnessing their entrepreneurial potential.
Describing the stipend as inadequate, he challenged the ex-agitators to wear their thinking caps and key into PAP’s vision of making them successful entrepreneurs to enable them to exit the stipend regime.
He said that it was only reasonable to end the Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) aspect of the programmed to begin a post-DDR phase of the scheme.Dikio said for the region to move forward the scheme must be changed from ‘amnesty’ to the Niger Delta Stabilization Programmed (NDSP) insisting that with the current status “there are things we can’t do and there are countries we can’t enter.
“We must establish the Niger Delta Stabilization Programmed. We must change that name, terminate the DDR and open another thing. I have operated DDR in Cameroon and Angola.
“As far as this name ‘amnesty’ remains there are things that we cannot do and there are countries we can’t enter. We can’t make progress sitting in one place. My job is to make you think beyond the N65,000 mentality”.
He said that the PAP was offering a platform to the ex-agitators through the cooperative model to enable them to develop and own functional businesses adding that all the beneficiaries of the scheme must organize themselves under cooperatives.
“You must think of how you can graduate from stipends after 11 years. I am offering you a platform. You have to form yourselves into cooperatives. You are better than this stronghold of N65,000,” he said.
Dikio also asked the ex-agitators and other youths in the Niger Delta to stop blocking major roads for protests and issuing an ultimatum to oil companies to leave the region.
He said that such public display of violent behavior was part of the reasons why most persons outside the region claimed the Niger Delta was not safe.
“This kind of behavior is making people say here is not safe. I was to organize a workshop and I chose Port Harcourt, Owerri and Warri. But they turned it down and I said I would not hold the conference in Abuja.
“If you are not choosing any of the venues then keep your conference. They later chose Port Harcourt.
“We must all begin to think of how to bring companies back to the Niger Delta. If they are not here, your PhD is in vain.
“We have told you that after your scholarship you must work first for Niger Delta for two years. It is up to you and me to make the Niger Delta a better place.
“We will graduate the programmed to Niger Delta Stabilization Programmed. Do you want to stay in a house where the landlord wakes up every time and asks you to leave? Then why are you quick in giving oil companies a quit notice?
“Why will you go and block roads. What about the people passing through the road? If you want to prosper do you open your shop or close it? You must open it,” Dikio said (NAN)