Amnesty Programme (PAP) has engaged ex-agitators in sports activities as an opportunity that would develop their spirit of volunteerism and patriotism.
The Coordinator Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh, said in Uyo on Sunday at a meeting with the SIA’one Soccer Academy to reintegrate some ex-agitators and youths in the Niger Delta region.
He said sport is one of the most important facets of Niger Delta culture and community, arguing that few activities affect the emotions and develop sports in the region.
“Sports is a language that everyone can understand. Sports is important for healthy living, personal development and social bonding. Sports is also a leisure activity that all can enjoy. It keeps us physically fit, builds character, and bonds family and friends.
“At its best, sports can bring people together, no matter what our race, background, or economic status.
“This is why we want to give our beneficiaries the opportunity to experience sports and live better through sports, whether as a professional sportsperson, amateur player, spectator or volunteer, ” he said.
He said when Nigerians do take part in sports, “we see more of them doing so individually, for example, jogging, swimming or going to the gym, rather than friends or family”.
The Coordinator stressed the need to encourage a sporting lifestyle, not just for individuals, but also our communities.
According to him, the programme has two broad strategies.
“The first strategy is to enhance our public sports facilities in the Niger Delta region.
“This is crucial to meeting the sporting and fitness needs of the region,” he said.
Boroh said when youths chose basketball, Football and volleyball as a professional career, it never occurred to them that they would have impact on young people’s lives and earn living.
The Coordinator said this initiative shows what the office hope to achieve through sports building on this experience, by engaging beneficiaries of the programme in different kinds of sporting activities.
In his remark, the Coordinator of SIA’one, Mr Samson Siasia, acknowledged that the Amnesty office under Boroh was coming out with such a brilliant initiative to engage the ex-agitators and youths of the region in sports.
While commending the Coordinator for his interest in sports development in the region, Siasia also noted that it was only sports that could bail the region out of pipelines vandalism, if sizeable percentage of security votes are invested in the sector.
“The youths are the future, hope and custodian of our tomorrow,” he said.
Siasia said no wonder the Coordinator of PAP discovered this secret to success and decided to consider a worthy partner to invest in sports.
Speaking on behalf of other beneficiaries, Mr Sunday Essien from Cross River thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for such initiative and promised not to defeat the aim of the policy.
Essien said youths like them would no longer be exposed to vandalism and crime in the region and pleaded for the Federal Government continuous supports.