The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh, retd, has disclosed that five hundred ex-militant youths from the Niger Delta are to be trained in various agro-based related skills as a means of engaging the youths in agriculture sector.
Boroh, who stated this during the graduation ceremony and passing out ceremony of ex-militants trainees’ pilot scheme at the Bio Resources Development Centre, Odi, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of the Bayelsa State, described the pilot scheme as a success, noted that the potentials that abound in the agric sector is enormous.
According to the Amnesty programme coordinator, some of the ex-militants would be sent to Songhai Farms in Delta state, while others would be sent to the various agriculture programmes departments at Delta State University, DELSU, University of Port Harcourt, UNIPORT, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, RSUST, and the Peremabiri Rice Farms in Bayelsa state.
Boroh, who decried that the over dependence on oil as the bane of the Nigerian economy, stressed that the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration resolves to diversify the economy from oil and gas dependence, makes agriculture the best alternative.
He said: “ The shift from reliance on agriculture to over reliance on oil income has had a tremendous impact on agriculture and the localities where crude petroleum is found and has become the harbinger of hunger, starvation, unemployment and ecosystem degradation and that is the bottom-line of the resource base conflict in the Niger Delta.
President Buhari has embark on drastic diversification of the economy from oil and gas dependence and agriculture provides the nation the opportunity for growth, investment, wealth and job creation.
To successfully address the imperative of diversification, promotion of peace and development in the Niger and achieving Mr. President Agenda on peace and development we are collaborating with various institutions within and outside the country to train our youths in various agriculture related fields.”
In his remarks, the Director of the Odi Bioresources Development Centre, Mr. Josiah Jabu, said the centre is was establishment of the federal government to provide scientific and technical knowledge towards improving agricultural production in the country.