The Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Paul Boroh, has said 500 ex-militant youths from the Niger Delta will be trained in various agriculture-related skills as a means of engaging the youths in the sector.
Boroh stated this at the graduation of ex-militant trainee pilot scheme at the Bio Resources Development Centre, Odi, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The Amnesty boss described the pilot scheme as a success, saying the potential that abound in agriculture was enormous.
He said some of the ex-militants would be sent to Songhai Farms in Delta State, while others would be deployed to the various agriculture programme departments at the Delta State University, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, and the Peremabiri Rice Farms in the state.
Boroh, who decried the nation’s overdependence on oil, said agriculture remains the best alternative in the Federal Government’s diversification programme.
He said, “The shift from reliance on agriculture to overreliance on oil income has had a tremendous impact on agriculture and the localities where crude petroleum is found.
“It has become the harbinger of hunger, starvation, unemployment and ecosystem degradation and that is the bottom line of the resource-based conflict in the Niger Delta.”
In his remarks, the Director, OBDC, Mr. Josiah Jabu, said the centre was capable of providing scientific and technical knowledge towards improving agricultural production in the country.