Prominent leaders of the first phase Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) have declared that the interim administrator of the programme, Col Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd) has rekindled their hope in the programme.
According to them, they had lost hope in the programme until Dikio came on board.
The leaders spoke after meeting with Dikio in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, at the weekend, as part of PAP’s continuous engagements with all ex-agitators and beneficiaries of the programme.
Leaders of the first phase in attendance were the Speaker of Bayelsa House State of Assembly, Hon Abraham Ingobere; Paul Eris, popularly called Ogunboss; a member of Bayelsa House of Assembly, Felix Bonny-Ayah; Pastor Reuben; and Joshua Macaiver; among others.
The ex-agitators, who discussed their challenges with Dikio at the meeting, said they never had such robust engagement with PAP in the past.
Macaiver expressed faith in Dikio’s administration, describing the Strategic Communication Committee set up by PAP to address the problems of misinformation as the step in the right direction.
He said, “Before the current amnesty boss came on board, certain things went so wrong that when they talked about the amnesty programme, some of us would say that the programme had failed.
“But now that the current amnesty boss sees us as part of the programme. We are very hopeful and have faith that something goodwill comes out of this administration”.
In his remarks, the Interim Administrator of the programme, Col Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), harped on the need for beneficiaries of the amnesty programme to think beyond the N65,000 monthly stipend.
He said his new model of train, employ and mentor programme was designed to make ex-agitators employers of labour.
He said, “We will collaborate with the various levels of government in the region to ensure we get the best out of people in the Niger Delta. We are working to ensure that people in the Niger Delta are also able to attain heights, regardless of their status.”
Dikio insisted that the scheme’s scholarship programme must be based on merit explaining that 70 per cent would be allocated for ex-agitator, 20 per cent for impacted communities and 10 per cent for PAP’s discretion.
He promised to look into the complaints and concerns of the ex-agitators on the reorganisation of the programme’s offices for effective service delivery.
He said, “Niger Delta as a riverine area should be investing heavily on maritime transport and maritime security. Maritime transport should be our domain. We must own it because it is who we are. This Niger Delta will be the best place to live and do business in my lifetime. I know that for sure.”
Reps, NDA Commandant Parley Over Bandits’ Attack
The House of Representatives Committee on Defence, yesterday, met with the Commandant of the Nigeria Defence Academy, Maj-Gen Ibrahim Yusuf, on the bandit attack on the academy.
It would be recalled that the bandits had carried out an audacious attack against the foremost academy and abducted some military personnel at the institution.
Yusuf informed the committee that the military is working to prevent future occurrence of the attack.
The committee, chaired by Babajimi Benson from Lagos State, had an executive session with the commandant to get the details of the attack.
Also, the committee met with the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, to discuss the impact of the recent military agreement between Russia and Nigeria.
It would be recalled that Nigeria and Russia signed a defence agreement which was announced by the Nigerian Embassy in Russia.
The agreement, which is a technical agreement between the two countries, will involve sales of Russian made equipment to Nigeria.
The committee had the session behind closed doors.
Ember Months: FRSC Set To Inaugurate ‘Operation Show Of Readiness’
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), says it is set to inaugurate” Operation Show of Readiness’’ as part of efforts to reduce road traffic accidents during the 2021 ember months.
The Corps Public Education Officer (CPEO), Mr Bisi Kazeem told The Tide yesterday that the operation would involve massive sensitisation campaign ahead of the corps’ annual “Special Patrol’’.
Kazeem said that operation show of readiness followed the review of the FRSC’s 2020 ember months’ performance and the need to break new grounds.
“To achieve this, we have deployed public enlightenment teams to motor parks, Churches, Mosques, town hall meetings and we will use motorcade for awareness where possible.
“From the 2020 review, the corps realised that night travels are prevalent during this time (ember months) with overwhelming negative results.
“Speeding is also known to be responsible for over 60 per cent of crashes.
“As such, the corps will deploy energy to discourage people from indulging in these deadly road use behaviour (night travels and speeding),’’ he said.
Kazeem said that the corps would use Special Marshals, first responders, celebrities, traditional rulers and involve road safety clubs for the special operation in view of the COVID-19 travel advisory.
“Operation zero tolerance to road traffic crash carried out annually by the FRSC is also part of strategies to reduce crashes aside the maiden operation show of readiness,’’ he said
Kazeem said during the exercise, visual acuity test/screening for drivers would be conducted as well as free safety checks on vehicles.
VAT Bill Scales Second Reading At Ogun Assembly
A bill for a law to impose and charge Value Added Tax (VAT) on certain goods and services, provide for administration of the tax and for related purposes yesterday scaled second reading at Ogun State House of Assembly.
Clerk of the Assembly, Mr Deji Adeyemo, read the bill for the first time during plenary session in Abeokuta, while the Majority Leader, Mr Yusuf Sherif, moved the motion for the second reading which was seconded by Mr Ganiyu Oyedeji.
While opening debate on the bill, Mr Olakunle Sobukanla, the Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, noted that the bill was an avenue for the state to generate more revenue for its development.
Sobukanla added that the more internally generated revenue by the state, the more infrastructure development in all sectors of the state.
In his submission, Oyedeji explained that collection of VAT would allow the state to generate more revenue and meet needs of the people.
The lawmaker stated that the people’s needs included fixing of bad roads and the construction of new ones, provision of healthcare facilities among others, which all required finance.
Other lawmakers who spoke supported the quick passage of the bill, saying that it would boost the socio-economic development of the state.
They noted that passage of the bill would be a financial restructuring and a form of redistribution of internally generated revenue.
In his response, Mr Olakunle Oluomo, the Speaker of the house, commended the lawmakers for the deliberation, adding that the VAT law was needed in the state for more economic development.
The speaker committed the bill to the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation for further legislative actions.
Also during yesterday plenary, the Ogun State Anti-Corruption Law 2021, scaled first reading.
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