Not fewer than 500 ex-militants, under the Federal Government amnesty scheme, will be trained in various agro-based related skills at the Bio-Resources Development Centre, Odi in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Goverment Area of Bayelsa State.
The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier Geneneral Paul Boroh (rtd), made the disclosure when he visited the centre to access the facility, manpower and the duration of turnover.
Boroh, who also presented certificate to graduating ex-militants trainees’ on pilot scheme at the Bio Resources Development Centre, Odi, described the programme as a success, noting that the potentials that abound in the agric sector was enormous.
According to the amnesty programme coordinator, some of the ex-militants would be sent to Songhai Farms in Delta State, while others would be sent to the various agriculture programme departments at Delta State University (DELSU), University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) and the Peremabiri Rice Farms in Bayelsa State.
Boroh, who decried over dependence on oil as the bane of the Nigerian economy, stressed that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration resolved to diversify the economy from oil and gas dependence and make agriculture the best alternative.
He said: “The shift from reliance on agriculture to over reliance on oil income has had a tremendous impact on agriculture and the localities where crude petroleum is found and has become the harbinger of hunger, starvation, unemployment and ecosystem degradation and that is the bottom-line of the resource base conflict in the Niger Delta.
In his remarks, the Director of the Odi Bio resources Development Centre, Mr. Josiah Jabu, said the centre was establishment of the Federal Government to provide scientific and technical knowledge towards improving agricultural production in the country.