(Okechukwu Charles, Umuahia)
The National Co-ordinator and Visionar of project2015 Door2Door Transformation for Abia leadership, Comrade Okechukwu Charles, has urged the Federal Government and Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Onubebe to consider some of the 5000 ex-militants of Abia State origin, who embraced the amnesty by surrendering their arms, for training at the newly established N3.4BN skills acquisition centre at Otuoke, built by the Federal Government to rehabilitate militant youths.
Comrade Okechukwu Charles who doubles as a youth activist expressed disappointment that Abia which is not just sitting on the Niger Delta at Ukwa and Ugwunagbo LGAs, but a major oil producing state has for more than 3 years now pleaded with the federal government to re-absorb and rehabilitate those militant youths who embraced amnesty by surrendering their weapons to Governor T.A. Orji’s administration. The coordinator whose mission is to ensure that the oil rich communities of Ngwa and Ukwa, produce the next governor of Abia State averred that out of the 700 Niger Delta youths being recruited for ICT training and the 200 for I. PAD assembly at Otuke in Bayalsa State, Abia which has suffered total neglect and marginalization should produce more than 50% of the number.
The Door2Door transformation agenda President wondered why the Bayelsa State and Niger Delta youths are given preferences in federal government youth re-habilitation programme since the N3.4 Billion skills acquisition centre which is the largest in Africa is located in the home state of President Goodluck Jonathan, at Otuoke.
According to Comrade Okechukwu Charles, the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry is expected to cater for the welfare of the inhabitants of the 9, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) states especially their youths but expressed surprise that since the programme started only youths from Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Akwaibom have benefitted.
He is not happy that militant youths of Abia State origin who surrendered their arms in line with the governments directives as condition for amnesty have so far been abandoned and forced to go back to militancy such as kidnapping, child trafficking, drug abuses and armed robbery.
Comrade Okechukwu Charles thus called on the Governor of Abia State Chief Dr. T.A. Orji to liaise with both the presidency and the office of the minister Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to ensure that Abia youths and ex-militants benefits from the skills acquisition training which is expected to take off at the Ultra Modern Otuoke Skill Acquisition Centre, come July 2013.