Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), has classified operators of illegal refineries as murderers, saying they contribute to the untimely death of many people in the Niger Delta. Dikio spoke on Friday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, at a one-day awareness and sensitization workshop organized by PAPâ€™s Strategic Communication Committee (STRACOM). Lamenting the health hazards posed by illegal refineries, Dikio said everyone living in Port Harcourt was at a risk of dying for inhaling toxic substances from such refineries. He appealed to all stakeholders, especially ex-agitators to collectively bring an end to illegal oil bunkering to save the region from the looming environmental and health disaster. He also charged youths in the region to stop making excuses for being idle and seize the numerous opportunities before them to earn a decent living and create employment opportunities for others. He said: â€œIf you are involved in â€˜kpo fireâ€™ (illegal refineries) you are not involved in good business. You are a murderer pure and simple. â€œNiger Delta is too rich for anybody to be poor. You have to think beyond paper qualifications and work for the development of the region. Sixty percent of the small businesses that run in America are owned by Individuals and most of them donâ€™t have college degrees. â€œHere in Nigeria, we pride ourselves as the most literate set of immigrants. How many of you are governors or own businesses or are senators? Itâ€™s high time we wake up. Collectively we will change our narrative, Niger Delta will be the safest place to live and do business in Nigeria.â€ On his part, the Head of Reintegration at the PAP, Alfred Kemepado, commended the ex-agitators for organizing the programme and appealed to them to continue to be change agents. He said: â€œThe whole essence of todayâ€™s event is to reconstruct the mindset of the ex-agitators towards building a Niger Delta where we can all have it as the best place to live and do business. â€œThe message to the Niger Delta youths is that peace is in their best interest and any form of violence doesnâ€™t pay. It may have short term benefits for the crisis merchants at that particular time but the simple question we need to ask is where were we before the militancy in 2009 and where are we today? If you take a score you donâ€™t need deep research to see itâ€. In his remarks, the Rivers State Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Young AyoTamuno, represented by a Deputy Director, Mr. Edward Amonia Banigo, said the workshop was timely in view of the coming general elections. He said: â€œWe want to commend you for this Programme and we call on all others, other groups like you to also come up with programmes like this. We are here to partner with groups like you to deepen peace in the Niger Delta, in our communities and deepen our National core values. So that at the end of the day, the change we desire we shall see it. â€œThe 2023 election is around the corner, we have a beautiful opportunity to make that change and one step to achieving that is to make sure you get your PVC. With your PVC we can peacefully put men and women of integrity who will change the narrative of our fatherlandâ€, he said.
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