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Amnesty programme scholarship scheme not business as usual – Officials

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Officials of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, disclosed on Tuesday that the revived scholarship scheme of the programme would no longer be business as usual.

PAP’s officials disclosed this during an interactive meeting with delegates of the first-phase amnesty beneficiaries in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The officials insisted that only those with the discipline to stay in classrooms and learn and with the brains to absorb knowledge would henceforth benefit from the programme.

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The Interim Administrator, Maj. Gen. Barry Ndiomu (retd), said to sanitise the scheme, his administration introduced a portal to receive applications from intended beneficiaries.

Ndiomu, represented at the event by PAP’s Chief Security Officer and Military Liaison Officer, Maj. Marshal Akpo, said the portal would ensure that only genuine registered ex-agitators benefit from the scheme.

He said Ndiomu created the Presidential Amnesty Programme Corporate Society Limited, PACOSOL, to enable him to actualise his vision of making the ex-agitators entrepreneurs.

Akpo said: “He doesn’t want them to be dependent on a N65,000 monthly stipend. He wants them to open businesses and become employers of labour within the Niger Delta region to enable the region to grow economically. The Interim Administrator is committed to improving the lives of delegates. All the issues raised here will be communicated to him.”

According to Akpo, the interactive session provided an opportunity for Ndiomu to know the concerns of the delegates, adding that similar meetings had been scheduled for second-phase and third-phase beneficiaries.

Explaining some stringent measures introduced in the scholarship scheme, the Head of PAP’s Reintegration, Wilfred Musa, who hails from Edo State, said: “The opportunities of formal education is something very close to the hearts of the current PAP administration. What we seek to do differently is to emphasise a series of measures. We believe that the quality of what goes in will determine the quality of what they achieve at the end of the day.

“We will see an extraordinary screening, aptitude test, and oral interview when we engage with the candidates. There will be screening, and oral interviews, and the vetting process will be rigorous. The objective is to ensure that, at the end of the day, we are putting money where it will yield us returns.

“We want to guide them beyond their own thoughts. We are looking at a more structured process. At the end of the day, those who eventually get the opportunity will have heightened awareness and there is value at the end of the road for the PAP, the Niger Delta and Nigeria.

“We are up to speed with the reality of now. We are in tune with the needs of now. We are bold enough to realign our system to help us achieve where we want to go. In the business of success, restoration and recovery, you don’t want to pay lip service. If you speak it, the action associated with it must also look like what you are saying.”

Musa added: “As of the last time we checked a week ago, we have almost 4000 applications. The portal has been live for about five weeks. So, I am sure if I look again, more people may have applied. We have a good number of applicants every day. We will look at our wallets and based on that, we will take a decision.”


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