By Archibong Jeremiah
Some Ex-militants trained under the federal government’s post amnesty scheme Wednesday in Calabar protested the non-presentation of certificates to them following their completion of a 6 months course at the University of Calabar’s (UNICAL) Institute of Oceanography.
The visibly angry ex-militants expressed their disappointment at the failure of the institution’s management to issue them certificates after their graduation ceremony where the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Amnesty, Brigadier General Paul Boro (rtd) urged them to be productive with the skills they have acquired in the course of their training.
Boro in his address had said that, “Ensure that you try to educate (your colleagues you meet) on what you have learnt here so that they too can get a feel of what you have learnt. You are a success story of this program, we must move on, what we don’t want is this pipeline vandalism. You can make your case through different ways but not to (blow up) pipelines because it will affect our environment and the economy of the country, a strategic thinker doesn’t use his home ground as a battle field”.
The vice chancellor of UNICAL, Professor Zana Akpagu commended them for accepting to learn in the varsity. He pledged the institution’s readiness to offer free consultancy to them and prayed that “The skills you have leant put them to use, so that they will help you become fully productive and useful”.
In a similar vein, The Chairman, Committee on Niger Delta Affairs in the House of Representative, Honourable Essien Ayi, a fourth term member representing Calabar South/Bakassi/Akpabuyo described them as “great Nigerians who have embraced peace without any condition”.
“The bill giving law to the amnesty program has passed through the second reading of the house and we will soon hold a Public hearing on it” Essien also said.
Also, the Cross River State Commissioner for Agriculture Professor Egrinya Eneji disclosed the state government’s readiness to tackle issues of militancy and associated insurgencies but stressed the state was willing to partner UNICAL to ensure programs such as that are continued.
“We also have active program on youth and women empowerment under our commercial agriculture program that welcomes young men and women like you. We train them and give them some form of grants to start up their trade” Eneji said.
Speaking on behalf of the graduating students, Surubor Amadikeme said that, “No matter the economic and security challenges we thank you and support you, we are with you in spirit and otherwise. Somebody like me thought the amnesty program was not real but under President Buhari I have to believe it”.