Amnesty beneficiaries threaten protest over overseas training
Seventy-two students of the World Maritime University/Copenhagen Malmo, under the Presidential Amnesty Programme, have threatened to embark on peaceful demonstration over the Federal Government’s failure to sponsor their overseas training.
The 2014 batch of the programme made this known in a petition signed by the beneficiaries to the Presidency, National Assembly and other stakeholders made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
The students pointed out that they have given a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government and the Amnesty Office to implement their sea-time overseas training as promised.
According to them, they have resolved to plan a peaceful demonstration over their demand should the government continue to ignore their request.
They also said that they have written some relevant offices including the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs (OSAPND) for their welfare.
The students explained that they have made frantic and concerted efforts to ensure that the 72 of them proceeded for the international training overseas after they had completed the shore-based training programme since 2014.
“We were firmly promised and assured again after our peaceful demonstration in Abuja on Feb. 27, 2018 by the former Chairman, House Committee on MSEA, Federal House of Representatives.
“We were promised that we will commence our international sea-time training programme overseas within two months interval from that February.
“We have been patient and peaceful in our moves and approaches to the demand for the implementation of the commencement of the programme,’’ they said in the petition.
In his reaction, Prof. Charles Dokubo, Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, said that offshore training could only be for those specialised courses not offered within the country, while others should studied locally.
Dokubo through his Special Assistant, Media, Mr Murphy Ganagana told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that this decision became necessary due to limited resources.
He said that the issue concerning the above group has been on since the previous administration.
“And the position of the office has been that these delegates of group of persons have completed their first programme and they are now seeking for further training abroad.
“The office does not have the resources to train them abroad; the office opted for local training which could be offered by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
“They can be trained by NIMASA effectively, but they refused; they rejected that offer. So the office does not have the resources to train them abroad,’’ he reiterated.
According to him, the office is trying to de-emphasise the offshore training due to lack of resources except they are specialised courses; those courses that cannot be obtained in the country.
“So the office did not denial them training; the office accepted to train them locally based on available resources, but they insisted that it must be offshore training.
“You know we are running programmes and we have a lot of others, who have not gone for training. So we have to utilise the resources in such a way that it can go round to everybody.
“And you do it in a way that the training can be beneficial. So the office is de-emphasising education offshore unless it is specialist education.
“The office did not refuse to train them on sea-time training, but insist on them having the training here in the country with NIMASA,’’ Dokubo said.
He, therefore, advised beneficiaries of the programme to always seek better ways to end their grievances rather than going to the media for things that are not justifiable.
He told NAN that the office has process and channel of communication, adding that beneficiaries of the office should endeavour to exhaust them first before thinking of other alternatives.