Twenty five beneficiaries of the presidential amnesty programme yesterday graduated from the Ogbebor Leadership and Skills Acquisition Academy. The training programme is part of efforts to empower ex-agitators from the Niger Delta region.
Drawn from Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta States, the trainees were taken on rubber technology, products manufacturing techniques and other sociological and communication skills and the programme lasted for six months.
President and Chairman Board of Directors of the academy Col. Paul Ogbebor (rtd) said was most rewarding to the trainees adding that the on the job training of the youths in rubber technology would qualify them for the National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB) Modular Trade Certificate on rubber technology.
He commended the federal government’s agriculture initiative which is targeted at reviving erstwhile abandoned rubber plantations and businesses which are currently yielding Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and India annually about $50billion and 1.5 million jobs created in the affected countries.
Said he “it is axiomatic that rubber cultivation if sufficiently revived, could generate for Nigeria the coverage at 5 million direct and indirect jobs and earn the country 60 billion us dollars income every year.
“The Federal Government knows the value of rubber and it is part of the reason he sent this youth to come and learn the skills involved in tapping it. She also knows the foreign exchange value hence the need to get involved for export such that it can contribute more to federal purse.
“My joy is that we have taught them how to tap rubber. It is very important because once tapping of the rear is not properly done it can destroyed the tree or caused it to be unproductive. Tapping starts 6:30am and two people are usually attached to a tree.
A representative of the Amnesty Office in Abuja, Lambert Daunemighan said he is glad that he was part of the graduation ceremony.
He therefore advocated that all state governments in rubber producing areas of Nigeria be made to key into rubber cultivation, processing and marketing for the economic revival of the affected states.
Titus Akhigbe, Benin