89 Niger Delta youths will this week , leave for the United Kingdom and Cyprus to pursue various degree programmes under the Presidential Amnesty Office scholarship scheme, even as former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Chibudom Nwuche, advocated a programme through which a quota of oil company employment opportunities could be reserved for candidates from the Niger Delta.
The Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Hon. Kingsley Kuku, who addressed the candidates at an orientation in Abuja, at the weekend, ahead of their departure, said he was fulfilled to see qualified Niger Delta youths being given the opportunity to be educated in the best universities in the world.
“I am fulfilled. If I am leaving as Adviser to Mr. President, I will leave happily. Sincerely nothing gives me a greater joy than to see that Niger Delta youths can now be educated in the best universities across the globe. The best Mr. President can give you is education. It is the only thing you receive that can never expire. Honestly I am fulfilled”, he said.
According to the S.A., about 3, 000 youths from the region have been placed in various world-class universities and other tertiary institutions of learning across the globe as part of the Amnesty Programme with a view to building human capacity in the region that could key into the oil and gas industry based in their communities.
Kuku told the elated candidates that they could not afford to fail, given the special privileges they have been accorded and that they must not only be of good behavior in their countries of study but equally do the president and Nigerians proud by coming out in flying colours.
He explained that the scholarship programme, for which the 89 candidates were the first set, was designed to provide human capacity development even among the youths in the region who did not carry arms in the days of militancy in the region.
According to him, the Amnesty Programme has become so successful that it was beginning to create problems for these prosecuting it.
“The success we have achieved is beginning to give us problems. People are beginning to ask, ‘so those who didn’t carry arms should not be catered for because they did not carry arms’?. Those who didn’t carry arms must be empowered.”
The Amnesty Programme boss, however, warned that no act of indiscipline would be tolerated from any student while away in the UK or Cyprus.