The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) says it has sent 400 ex-agitators to various farms in the Niger Delta to achieve food sufficiency after hosting the beneficiaries to a four-day Basic Orientation Programme (BOC).
The PAP said the ex-agitators drawn from the various states in the Niger Delta concluded their course in two batches at the Nigerian Navy College of Engineering in Sapele, Delta, at the weekend before their formal deployment.
Retired Col. Milland Dixon Dikio, the Interim Administrator of PAP, stated this in a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Media, Mr Neotabase Egbe, said this on Saturday in Yenagoa.
According to Egbe, Dikio, while addressing the beneficiaries, said that the journey towards food security in the Niger Delta had commenced with the deployment.
He anticipate that there would be massive food production in the region, which would be exported to other states and countries to help change the economic fortunes of people of the Niger Delta.
Dikio said: “Our mission here is to create entrepreneurs or people who are employable. You must have an eye for what is possible. An entrepreneur does not look at problems, he looks and thinks solutions to the problems.
“So what problem are you trying to solve? The oil industry is technical, a lot of things people used to do with hands, they are doing it with computers.
“Those of you who are here have been assembled to be trained on modern farming. Farming is not a poor man’s work, that’s the first thing you should know. In the U.S, the largest concentration of millionaires are farmers.
“I have gone round most of the farms in the Niger Delta, most of them cannot meet up to 20 per cent of the market share, that is the demand.
“That is why food prices are going up. Now if you have a population that is going up, it means that there are more mouths to feed; so if you’re into farming you can never be broke.
“Somebody who wants to progress must be ready to learn.
“Another reason why we are sending you to be trained in farming is for the purpose of food security.”
The PAP boss appealed to the beneficiaries of the training to see it as a lifetime opportunity to secure their future, urging them not to give up no matter the circumstances.
“When you go to your training centres, calm down. You must be hungry for success. Despite any challenge, please resist the temptation to quit.
“You all will be assigned to different farms and those who pass will be employed. This is because it is a business entity that is not owned by the government. You would be taught how to run the business side of farming.
“When you finish, we will encourage you to form cooperatives to collectively create a market for people to easily identify with you. We will also encourage you to form clusters to easily access funds from financial institutions.
“We have looked at our situation in the Niger Delta and there is no excuse for anybody to be poor. You must have a business or provide services, otherwise as a salary earner you cannot be rich and this is not a curse but a fact,” Dikio said.
The statement alao quoted some of the participants at the PAP Basic Orientation Course (BOC) as saying that they were looking forward to the training and commended Dikio for his efforts in carving a new and prosperous future for them.
They assured that nothing would deter them from coming out successfully.