The President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Mr Jonathan Lokpobiri has lauded achievements of the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) Retired Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu.
Lokpobiri also advocated for an upward review of the budgetary allocation to PAP when he paid a courtesy visit on Ndiomu.
This is contained in a statement by Lokpobiri, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
The IYC president explained that upward review of the allocation to PAP would enable the programme meet up with current realities and expectations.
“With the fast decrease in value of the Naira, a N65 billion annual funding is a far cry. This is because what N65 billion can achieve in 2023 will not be same in 2024.
“We appeal to President Bola Tinubu to carry out an upward review of the allocation to PAP,” Lokpobiri said.
He noted that the programme had been a tremendous success in terms of impacting lives of young people in the Niger Delta region.
He expressed commitment and readiness of the IYC as the umbrella body of young people in the region, to partner and work strategically with Ndiomu to further reposition the PAP.
Meanwhile, in his remarks, Ndiomu commended the IYC president for his acknowledgement of paucity of funds in the PAP.
“When people make comments without getting their facts right, it becomes displeasing. I appreciate Lokpobiri’s acknowledgement of the current realities of the value of naira to dollar.”
Ndiomu further charged the IYC leadership to take up the responsibility of preaching the many success stories of the PAP to young people in the region.
He added that IYC should also advise the youths in the region to drop the culture of laziness and indolence, and begin to think of bigger ways to sustainably improve their lives.
Clearing the air on the Amnesty Scholarship Programmes, Ndiomu reiterated that the scheme remained ongoing, adding that, his administration had cleared all academic bills of its beneficiaries, both for local and foreign students.
Ndiomu, however, called on the Ijaw people to explore ways of working with other ethnic nationalities of the Niger Delta region to drive peace, unity and harmony.
While decrying the disturbing level of poverty in Ijaw land, Ndiomu expressed worry that young people in Niger Delta were not taking full advantage of the enormous opportunities in the region.
He stressed that the opportunities included vast natural habitat for rice farming, and the untapped potentials of oil palm production.
The PAP boss also hinted on the possibility of the PAP transiting into a Social Intervention Programme.
“The sustainable peace being enjoyed in the region is 90 per cent traceable to the various innovative programmes of the PAP that are deliberately aimed at improving the lives of young people.” (NAN)