The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) is ready to work with former militants, although warning that the oil and gas industry will not be able to provide all the jobs required.
NCDMB’s executive secretary Simbi Wabote held talks on Friday with the head of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) Milland Dikio. The two met at the NDCMB offices in Bayelsa State.
Dikio linked his visit to finding ways to work together in training.
Wabote noted the importance of having the correct skills and certificates, issued by authorised institutions.
“The industry is very specific in term of certifications required and if it is not met, you cannot force them to consider another thing,” the NCDMB official said. For certificates to be valid, internationally recognised bodies must issue them, he said.
The oil and gas industry’s use of technology means that the number of people it employs is limited, he continued. Wabote highlighted other industries as presenting opportunities, such as agriculture.
The official went on to ask the PAP head to consider how best to work in the oil sector, through areas such as catering, logistics and insurance. The NCDMB will work with the amnesty office to develop a strategy for former militants.
The PAP has reintegrated 22,000 former militants, Dikio said. “We seek the [NCDMB’s] collaboration in specific needs of the oil sector where people can be trained and engaged.”
The PAP official said the amnesty office intended to support the remaining 8,000 former militants to become entrepreneurs.
Dikio participated in a workshop in March. This focused on training former militants in setting up and managing modular refineries in the Niger Delta.
This work, he said, would “give them a sense of belonging, minimise oil theft, reduce unemployment in the region, minimise pollution and provide pipeline surveillance and eradicate pipeline vandalisation.”
The government set up the amnesty programme in 2009 to pay stipends to militants and provide training. While security has improved, the PAP has struggled to achieve its objectives.
Reports suggest some former militant leaders have used the programme to disperse funds to their networks.
A report in 2020 from Nextier SPD noted the difficulties in finding jobs for former militants. It said there was a lack of involvement from major employers.
Dikio had to defend the agency recently over allegations of money going missing. The PAP has frequently fallen behind in its efforts to pay stipends on time.