The appointment of retired Major General Barry T. Ndiomu as the interim Administrator of the residential
Amnesty Programme (PAP) for Niger Delta militants in the closing months of the Buhari-led Federal
Government provoked substantial interest and comment from various sectors of the Nigerian public. This was especially so because the record of leadership of the programme that preceded his appointment has been one of dysfunctional policies and controversial actions that have prevented the attainment of many
of the objectives for which PAP was originally established. Among these the establishment of circumstances in which the younger generation of the peoples of the territory would gain improved access to appropriate opportunities for employment was a major concern. The choice of Ndiomu to
occupy the exalted seat might have been influenced by his reputation of being a profoundly disciplined officer who was always conscientious in his professional conduct. This reputation enabled him to have a stellar military career while also becoming known as an enlightened academic and legal expert. On the basis of this record, he was selected by the government to correct the anomalies of performance which threatened to undermine the proper legacy of the Amnesty Programme.
His actions since taking charge of the programme have provoked commentary from some observers on social media who have expressed
disenchantment with his approach to the task of restoring relevance to the Amnesty Programne’s
objectives. However, close scrutiny of Ndiomu’s initiatives since taking over indicate that the expressions
of disenchantment might represent the sentiments of people who believe that these initiatives will not serve the selfish interests of those who benefited from the deficient performance of the previous
The choice of Ndiomu to occupy the exalted seat
might have been influenced by his reputation of
being a profoundly disciplined officer who was
always conscientious in his professional conduct.
This reputation enabled him to have a stellar
military career while also becoming known as an
enlightened academic and legal expert
leadership. Among his primary decisions since taking charge is the consolidation of working institutions that will provide enhanced opportunities for professional employment for the participants is a major objective. To this end he has determined that it is important to harness and reform the programme of
vocational training centres that was designed earlier but which has not been effectively initiated.
He intends to upgrade the professional curriculum of training designed for each of the centres that are
being established. In order to achieve this, he has determined that it will be necessary to enhance
the operational efficiency of the vocational centres. He has initiated a comprehensive review of the
relevance and effectiveness of the programmers and projects established by his predecessors
and initiated an audit of the scholarships grants and bursary awards that were approved by them. In embarking on this strategic agenda, he has signaled his intention to ensure that the amnesty programme will bear fruit meaningfully for young people and enhance the growth of future generations of the Niger Delta communities.
While speaking to a gathering of registered vendors of the PAP whom he summoned for a meeting at the head office he told them that the programme would now “focus on creative ways of resettling delegates through empowerment programs to promote and use the skills and knowledge acquired to add value to the socio-economic growth of the Niger Delta.” Having defined the major objective of the programme in those constructive terms the interim administrator has therefore developed new parameters for success for the PAP under his direction. He has also indicated that he will encourage the expansion of the programme’s mandate so that the enhancement of communal development will be given added impetus by initiatives emanating from the PAP agenda. In this wise he announced PAP’s support for the establishment of agricultural cooperatives that will be assisted by external professional agencies and major donors. This imitative will enable the provision of opportunities for the engagement of the delegates who have been trained to be reintegrated in the communities in jobs that will outlive the amnesty programme’s role as an intervention agency. Major General Ndiomu’s purposeful assumption of responsibility at the PAP is clearly affected by the fact that he is also serving in another highly sensitive post as the Chairman of the Government’s special committee on oil theft losses.
In this role he has explained why it is important that the damaging disruption of government’s economic stability caused by oil theft must be halted. This, he has said, is necessary if national stability and progress is to be achieved and stable development maintained. Having defined the problem that needs to be solved he identified harmonious relations with the host communities of the Niger Delta as a major element of the solution.
He has stated that oil theft is a major problem that must be overcome for this to be achieved. To this end he has advocated increased surveillance in which the host communities should be involved as a major strategy for success in eliminating this criminal activity. He has also urged more severe penalties for these perpetrators of oil theft who are caught. The appointment and engagement of
General Ndiomu in this sector of the operational initiative of the Federal government at the time that it was implemented has indicated that the Buhari-led Federal government has given serious consideration to the issue of how best to involve leading figures from the Niger Delta in the process of devising policies
and implementing strategies for inclusion in correcting national problems involving the territory’s resources and people.