The Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Paul Boroh, said on Wednesday that over 4,000 had benefitted from the training and empowerment programme of the Amnesty.
Mr. Boroh, also the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Matters, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja.
He said the beneficiaries were empowered in their choice areas of business ranging from professional trading, skills acquisition, agriculture, building materials and commodities, restaurant and bar, and timber saw milling.
Others included film making and videography, industrial safety, baking and confectionery.
He explained that the empowerment was to make them entrepreneurs and promote self-employment across Niger Delta region.
He disclosed that only N35 billion was released to them out of the N65 billion, which was the actual budget for the year 2017.
“However, in managing the 30,000 beneficiaries of the programme, it is the responsibility of the amnesty office to pay monthly stipends, tuition fees and in-training allowances.
“Allowances for offshore and onshore education delegates, training cost and in-training allowances for onshore vocational training delegates, payment for empowerment and setting up of already trained beneficiaries,” he said
The special adviser said that the Amnesty Office produced 500 bags of rice from its agriculture revolution initiative.
He stated that the rice was produced by ex-agitators, adding that the initiative was one of the best programmes by his administration.
Mr. Boroh, a retired brigadier general, said the Amnesty beneficiaries raised bar on rice farming, targeting the improvement of vegetable and soya oil production in 2018.
According to him, Soya oil is considered healthier than most other vegetable oils due to its good variety of essential fatty acids that the body needs to remain healthy.
The coordinator said in Nigeria today, the soya beans processing sector, which has an estimated capacity of over one million tonnes per annum is hampered by low production.
He said the main products from this crop are soya oil and the high protein cake used as basic ingredient in poultry and other animal feeds.
“Apart from making oil and animal feeds, large quantities of soya beans are consumed by many households producing soya milk and cake called ‘awara’ in the North.
“Many Nigerian vegetable oil producing firms go to neighbouring countries to buy soya beans to meet their industrial demands, paying higher prices in the process.
“Soya bean also improves soil fertility by adding nitrogen from the atmosphere,” he said.
He said recently, a ban has been placed on the importation of vegetable oil by the federal government with the aim of encouraging local production and marketing of vegetable oil in the country.
He said that Amnesty office had carefully researched into the production of vegetable oil; therefore, its beneficiaries would be properly trained to help them gain useful insight into the nitty-gritty of vegetable oil business in Nigeria.