Port Harcourt -The Rivers State Government says it has trained and rehabilitated over 600 ex-militants in the last three years but says it is regrettable that some of the ex-fighters have remained adamant to change in spite of the enormous resources expended in their rehabilitation.
Chairman of the state’s Social Rehabilitation Committee Chief Albert Horsefall told the press in Port Harcourt at the third anniversary of the committee, that this class that has refused to change “is a set of criminal gang who took advantage of the Niger Delta crisis to unleash terror on the people”.
Horsefall who said a sizeable number of the former militants had engaged in gainful employment for the good of the state also called on the security agencies to put an ear to the ground and check the activities of the other irresponsible group of brigands to avoid a repeat of the ugly experiences of the past.
He said it had to be made clear that the committee was not an employment agency and would also not give free money to the repentant militants but was prepared to provide reorientation and skills programmes to them with a view to equipping them for future challenges.
“It must be stated too that some of the militants have distinguished themselves in their chosen professions and we have cash prices for them as a form of incentive and will be looking out for those who are willing to change and will assist them where necessary”, he said.
In another development, a clergyman Rev. Dennis Mbata has called for the introduction of a two-month skills training for members of the NYSC , explaining that the scheme was fast losing its relevance “because it has failed to empower bourgeoning young graduates in the country”.
“Certificates alone will not provide employment for our graduates as we have seen but skill will provide employment for them. Let there be five weeks paramilitary training, which would include skills training and 10 months for primary assignment”.