The Federal Government through the Presidential Amnesty Programme is set to train 2,500 Niger Delta Youths on fishing and associated seafood production.
The training which is to last for three months is expected to empower on a full time basis, a minimum of 2,000 youths who would in turn be taken off the Amnesty programme, saving the government N1.9 billion annually.
The youths are to be trained by University of Patras, a Greek University specializing in Fisheries and Aquaculture Technology and be issued a European Union (EU) Certificates in Fishing upon successful completion of the programme.
Furthermore, the Greek Partners will build the Boats locally as directed by the ERGP during consultations. In effect, a Boat Building Yard would be set up in the Niger Delta for a 25 year period.
As part of preliminary activities for the programme which is a collaboration with international partners, a delegation of the federal government is set to depart for Greece and Costa Rica on a Facility Inspection.
In Greece, the Boat Building Yard, University of Patras, and other technical partners, as well as the Greek Government will be visited while in Costa Rica, the exact replica of the plant to be built in Nigeria which is a 110 Fish per minute Processing Plant and mega Aquaculture Centre will be inspected.
Also part of the programme and for which an MoU has already been signed, is the establishment of an industrial fishing and processing company as a joint venture run by a consortium of Greek and Nigerian Partners led by the Presidential Amnesty Program.
The delegation will be made up of the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta (OSAPND), the Office of the Vice President (OVP), the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (EGRP), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), House Committee on Niger Delta, Africa Atlantic Gulf of Guinea Fisheries Limited (AGGF) and Concept Amadeus Limited (CAL).
Speaking on the progress of the project, the visibly elated Special Adviser to the President on the Niger Delta, Prof. Charles Dokubo said that the programme is expected to reduce the about $1 billion spent by Nigeria on fish importation.
Dokubo expressed satisfaction that the project is in line with a deliberate effort by government to promote diversification of the economy beyond oil.
“The project provides a clear convergence of domestic development and national security objectives while catalysing large volumes of foreign direct investment into the country.
“This is the first time that a large volume of our ex-agitators will be offloaded to full employment at once. The assurance that they will be EU certified means that they can work anywhere in the world beyond our shores.
“It creates a regional architecture that places emphasis on stability, economic and sustainable development. In the long term, it will position Nigeria to contribute more meaningfully to a market driven blue economy framework for growth and prosperity within the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.
He thanked all the partners while promising to ensure that the Amnesty Programme Office does all in its capacity to ensure the the construction of the yard takes off the September.
Also reacting on the proposed visit, the Chairman/CEO of Concept Amadeus Limited, Prince Patrick Osobase praised the commitment of the Federal Government through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
“For me I praise the commitment of the government for supporting the incubation of this project through the ERGP. I am excited that when we start, it will provide employment for youth from the Niger Delta and contribute to the reduction of illegal fishing in the Gulf of Guinea.
“Both the construction of the trawlers and citing the production facility in the country will catalyse technology transfer that will lead to quantum multiplier effect on our domestic economy,” he said.
The Project was designed to acquaint the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) Beneficiaries with modern day fishing using Trawlers.
The project was formally launched by the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR and the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON on the 24th of May, 2019 at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.