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FG, ECOWAS-EU to Train 150 ex-Militants from Cross-River, Akwa-Ibom

The Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PRESCOM) is to train 150 ex-militants who surrendered their weapons in 2018 in Calabar for training on various skills acquisition programmes.

Mr Dickson Orji, Programme Coordinator of PRESCOM, who supervised the ex militants on Tuesday in Calabar, said they were going to be trained on alternative livelihood packages.

Orji, who is also the National Project Officer for the ECOWAS-EU Small Arms Action in Nigeria, said the movement of the ex militants marked another milestone in the implementation of the Nigerian component of the ECOWAS-EU Small Arms Actions.

Orji, who said that the Presidential Committee is headed by Amb. Emmanuel Imohe, explained that the training was targeted at 300 beneficiaries in the two South South states of Cross River and Akwa Ibom.

According to him, the training entails skills acquisition and attitudinal training, vocational training, business development training, career development, agricultural business, greenhouse farming among others.

“The gestation period of the skill acquisition varies from one to two months with a well designed tailor made curriculum which have been dedicated to ensuring easy assimilation and entrepreneurship development of the beneficiaries.

“PRESCOM and the Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment Africa are currently implementing the Nigeria component of the ECOWAS-EU Small Arms Project.

“The Project is an initiative of the ECOWAS Commission, funded by the European Union within the broader context of Disarmament and Community Development or Weapons for Development.

“The Nigeria component of the ECOWAS-EU Small Arms Action under the current pilot phase focuses in the seven states of Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Cross River and Akwa Ibom,” he said.

He recalled that the Project in collaboration with the Cross River Government and relevant security agencies had conducted arms destruction exercise, where about 260 arms and 5510 ammunition were destroyed in Calabar in Jan. 2021 under the civilian disarmament initiative in the state.

He added that the beneficiaries would be provided with starter packs and guided to start their own businesses at the end of their training/skills acquisition.

He expressed gratitude to the ECOWAS for initiating the project and to the European Union for providing the financial support for the implementation of the project.

Mr Austin Ibok, Special Adviser on Amnesty and Rehabilitation to Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River and focal person of PRESCOM in the state, said that the ex militants were granted amnesty by the state government in 2018.

Ibok said that the ex militants would be trained on their areas of interests, adding that the state government had provided the logistics for the movement of the beneficiaries.

He advised them to be of good conduct during the training so that they can compete favourably in their areas of interests when given starter packs at the end of their training.

Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mr Theophilus William, thanked ECOWAS-EU, PRESCOM and the state government for giving them another alternative means of livelihood. (NAN)

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