Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Why Ex-Militants are trained Abroad - Amnesty Oficer

The Presidential Amnesty Office on Wednesday said it trained ex-militants abroad in order to imbibe in them the value of relating well with other cultures and people.
He also made it clear that not all militants are trained at once since the money given to them yearly won't be enough to train them all in a year. He said training them in a different environment will enable them to mix with people of different race and  see themselves as persons belonging to normal society.

The Special Assistant on Media in the Office, Mr Daniel Alabrah, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja said...

“So, we do not think that they will go back to militancy because we have exposed them to training in different environment that they now see themselves as persons belonging to normal society.

“Creek life is not an easy life. So, we do not expect people who have been to school as far as
Dubai, U.S. and UK to return to the creeks,’’ Alabrah said.

He expressed optimism that with the kind of training given to the former militants, it would be difficult of them return to the creeks.

He said “for us, we know that the kind of programme we run is one that ensures that tomorrow you will hear these youths telling you that `I don’t want to go back to that kind of life.

“Anyone threatening to go back to the creek is not among those we have trained.’’

The special assistant said the Office would ensure that most of the ex-militants were rehabilitated by the end of 2015 when the Presidential Amnesty Programme was scheduled to terminate.

He added that “out of 30,000 beneficiaries of this programme, we have trained close to 18,000. As an institution, we don’t have any fear that those yet to be trained will be left out.

“The fact is that we work within a yearly budget. So, there is no way we train every beneficiary in one year.

“This is because we are not going to spend the whole budget of the country on just this programme.

“So, the National Assembly approves a particular amount for training a number of persons per year. Normally, we are supposed to train between 2000 and 2,500 yearly.’’

He said the Office exceeded that number by using its own internal mechanism to train more beneficiaries.

“So far, we have done very well. If we were to follow the budgetary constraints, we are not sure that we would have been able to get that number.

“We know that the concern in the minds of people is the fear that this programme will terminate in 2015.’’

Alabrah explained that the programme was supposed to last for five years, from 2010 when the demobilisation started, to 2015.

He, however, noted that “the timeline was arrived at based on the initial number of persons that were disarmed. Today, this programme has three phases. In the first phase, 20,192 persons were disarmed.

“It was based on that figure that the five-year timeline was initially set.

“But when the programme commenced and there was indication that it will be a success, persons who initially did not key into the programme started agitating to be part of it.’’

He said that owing to these agitations, President Goodluck Jonathan had to yield to the advice of his Security Advisers to capture more youths under the programme.

“And eventually, an additional 6,166 persons were included in the Second Phase. This brought the number to 26,358.

“As we speak, the agitation has not stopped despite the President again approving a second addition of 3,642 persons, bringing the number to 30,000.

“So, if you look at additional number, almost 10,000 persons have been included in the programme.’’

According to him, given the increase in the number of beneficiaries, it will be difficult to train all ex-militants within the timeline.

He, however, said it was left for the Federal Government to decide whether to extend the programme or stick to the initial termination date.

“The Federal Government might decide at the expiration of five years that those yet to be trained could be moved to other relevant agencies for them to continue their training there.

“The President might also decide that considering that this programme is one that engenders peace and security in Niger Delta, other agencies might not understand its peculiarities.

“He might decide to extend it but we are working toward ensuring that the greatest number of beneficiaries in this programme are trained by the end of 2015,’’ he said.

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