The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), on Wednesday, launched a N1.
5billion Cooperative Fund to give strategic empowerment directly to the Niger Delta ex-agitators.
The cooperative which will be serviced with N500million every month is under the Presidential Amnesty Programme (Beneficiaries) Cooperative Society Limited (PAPCOSOL).
While officially launching the scheme at the Amnesty Office in Abuja on Wednesday, the Interim Administrator of the PAP, Maj. Gen. Barry Ndiomu (retd), described the initiative as “novel alternative economic development scheme".
According to him, the scheme was designed to create a more viable means of sustainable livelihood for ex-agitators with socio-economic development of their communities that would make them self-reliant.
Ndiomu recalled that over the years, various reintegration empowerment programmes had delivered less fulfilling results, but expressed confidence that the cooperative initiative “was considered the most practicable approach to ensuring the sustainable reintegration of ex-agitators.”
The Interim Administrator further reiterated that the scheme which would be serviced monthly with N500million, was birthed out of the need to encourage the ex-agitators who were fast aging on, to explore more sustainable means of livelihood, rather than depending on the monthly N65,000 monthly stipend from the Federal Government.
He said the Cooperative which already has offices in Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers states, would be closely supervised by the PAP Office and would be run by an Advisory Board led by Justice. Francis Tabai, a retired Supreme Court Justice, and other seasoned professionals and ex-agitators.
Ndiomu noted that the beneficiaries would be provided with technical support on their business ideas, and would also get access to grants, adding that the core areas of the scheme would focus on agricultural value chain, services and manufacturing.
In his brief remarks, Justice Tabai commended the Interim Administrator for championing the drive to reposition the Presidential Amnesty Programme and transform the lives of Niger Deltans, promising that he would pour in his wealth of experience to ensure that the Board delivers on its mandate.