From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Amanyanbo of Okpoama Kingdom in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, King Ebitimi Banigo, Okpo XXI has declared that the new training model introduced for ex-agitators by the Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd) rescued the dwindling fortunes of the scheme.
According to him PAP was becoming a liability to the Niger Delta before Dikio came with his Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) strategy.
Banigo who stated this when Dikio paid him a courtesy visit at his palace in Okpoama described Dikio as a rare professional, said his emergence opened a new chapter for the amnesty programme following his reforms especially in the award of scholarships.
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The monarch recalled that in the past the training system for ex-agitators was inadequate because of lack of post-training plans for them but said Dikio came to the rescue with TEM.
“No training programme can be successful except there is an endgame. That is why the program that you (Dikio) have introduced is more beneficial. With your new training there can be transferred skills.
“Previously we see beneficiaries sell their starter packs after training because they see no need for it. Even though it is wrong, it is because of the kind of training they had.
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“You can blame the government but we need to ask ourselves what we have done to better the region. Some of our actions are the bane of our problems. As leaders, stakeholders it is not enough to complain, we should be held accountable for some of the failures.
“As a kingdom we have a role to play, so do others and we believe that your visit here will be the beginning of a new chapter between PAP and the kingdom. We fully subscribe to your vision,” he said.
He appreciated Dikio for the award of scholarships to students of the kingdom and requested for more engagement with his people, especially in areas they had the right expertise.
The traditional ruler also used the occasion to call on the federal government to come to their aid and solve the looming problem on their waterways by setting up a taskforce to patrol the sea and end the issue of sea piracy.
Dikio in his remarks described Banigo as a role model, who distinguished himself in the banking sector and thanked him for his support and wise counsel to PAP.
He explained that he was in his Kingdom as part of his ‘back to region’ tour, which he introduced after his appointment to deepen the relationship between the PAP and the ancient Okpoama stool.
Dikio, assured the monarch that using the existing relationship, the PAP would explore the economic potential of the area and charged youths of the kingdom to protect their environment and preserve their heritage.