The appointment of Professor Charles Dokubo as Co-ordinator of Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) in March 2018 has, no doubt, opened a new vista in the region in line with the Change Agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari. Dokubo’s achievements in one year have enabled the people of the Niger Delta to peep into a new direction of life. One can assert that the PAP Coordinator radically changed the face of the Amnesty Programme in the region and the people of the Niger Delta are better
Dokubo made it possible because, on his assumption of office, he set the ball rolling by visiting the people in different parts of the region so as to get first-hand information about their socio-economical lifestyle. During the visits, he met with the crucial stakeholders of the Amnesty Programme, the leaders of the ex-agitators, during which he spoke on the need to support the President’s vision for the Niger Delta.
He tutored the ex-agitators on the compelling need to continue to maintain the peace in the region so that the impact of the Amnesty Programme could be felt. The meetings no doubt gave him an insight into the problems of the Niger Delta and how to resolve them.
Subsequently, Dokubo surmounted the problem which had to do with the re-integration of the agitators into the programme so that they could get the required skill and jobs. The reintegration phase entails providing the ex-agitators with vocational training or formal education. He ensured that out of the 30,000 persons enlisted under PAP, 11,297 persons that were still in the queue waiting to be placed in vocational training facilities or sent to tertiary institutions for formal education were absorbed.
The beginning of his success story was noted in the uplift of the Amnesty Educational Programme. Besides deploying 1,807 delegates to 145 institutions across the globe for various educational programmes by the Offshore Education Unit of the Amnesty Office, 207 students, spread across 66 institutions in 20 countries, are currently studying various courses. Better deal for beneficiaries of PAP is further heightened by Dokubo’s determination to surpass a record of 30 offshore graduates of the programme who attained First Class Honours/Distinction degrees in courses including engineering, biomedical science, law, information technology, political science and international relations. Effective monitoring of offshore students by Relationship Managers under his watch has also reduced agitation of students since he assumed office.
The PAP boss deserves to be commended for ensuring that the Onshore Education Unit of the Amnesty Office attends promptly to the welfare of students pursuing degree programmes in Nigerian institutions. At the moment, no fewer than 500 Niger Delta Students are studying various courses in private and government-owned universities across the country under the sponsorship of PAP.
Dokubo, on assumption of office, had tasked the Onshore Education Unit to develop a sustainable plan for the next two years. This included the preparation of students’ allowances on a quarterly basis to ensure deadlines were met and to avoid unforeseen circumstances that could warrant late disbursement of funds by the Federal Government. A verification exercise to ascertain the actual number of students who are beneficiaries of PAP at various universities across the country is ongoing to ensure government funds are not misappropriated. The PAP boss’ managerial ability has led to enduring peace in the Niger Delta as he strives to take the Amnesty Programme to the next level.
Fired by fresh initiatives at the Amnesty Office, Dokubo is set to put finishing touches to five vocational training centres across the Niger Delta. These include the Maritime Vocational Training Centre at Oboloma, Rivers State, Basic Skills Vocational Training Centre in Boro Town, Kaiama, Bayelsa State, Power and Energy Vocational Training Centre in Bomadi, Delta State, Oil and Gas Vocational Training Centre, Agadagba-Obon, Ondo State and the Agricultural Vocational Training Centre in Gelegele, Edo State.
Under Dokubo, reintegration has taken a new turn. Beneficiaries are made to make judicious’ use of their starter packs. Unlike in the past when the items were sold out, the monitoring measures put in place is making them make good use of the opportunity to become entrepreneurs who employ labour thereby contributing to the development of the economy of the nation.
Dokubo has facilitated job placement for beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme through the Job Placement and International Development Partners Engagement Unit (JPIDPEU), which he created. So far, the unit has profiled 28 delegates for underwater welding jobs, 100 delegates for civil service jobs and 10 delegates for aviation pilot jobs. It has also concluded profiling of 25 delegates for catering services, hotel and fast food jobs and 75 delegates for other job opportunities. In one year,
Dokubo is making a difference in the lives of Niger Deltans. If he could achieve all of these in one year, the people of the region are in for better deal in future.