Trinidad and Tobago has deported 28 ex-Niger Delta militants whose characters and behaviours were considered inimical and threatening the good relationships between Nigeria and that country.
The 28 ex-militants were part of the initial 100 sent to that country for a training programme that is costing Nigeria as much as $6 million, 15 had earlier dropped out of the programme on health ground.
Ten of the ex-militants have, however, been rewarded with scholarships to further their programmes up to masters degree level following their excellent performance in their training aimed at equipping them to play significant roles in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.
This much was revealed to President Goodluck Jonathan who concluded his two-day visit to the country on Wednesday.
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, while receiving President Jonathan said her country is pleased to be part of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme “initiated and implemented by your office to engage young persons from the energy-rich Niger Delta in training and rehabilitation programmes, thereby contributing to the positive development of that region”.
Ten out of the ex-militants participating in the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme initiated and implemented to engage young persons from the energy-rich Niger Delta in training and rehabilitation programmes won scholarship up to masters level at the Caribbean University.
As a result, only 57 Nigerians are now taking part in the programme where the Federal Government of Nigeria is spending over $6 million to equip the youths with various skills expected to be deployed in the oil and gas sector.
They represent the first group of trainees who will be certified in the areas of Automotive Service Maintenance, Heavy Equipment Operations and Millwright and Shielded Metal Arc Wielding.
The prime minister noted that “on Wednesday July 25th, the National Energy Skills Centre held a graduation ceremony for its first group of trainees from the programme who are now certified in the areas of Automotive Service Maintenance, Heavy Equipment Operations and Millwright and Shielded Metal Arc Wielding.”
“I am confident that the 57 graduates will utilise the skills acquired to enhance the human capital of the Niger Delta. I am informed that another group of approximately 80 trainees are expected to arrive in Trinidad and Tobago and that discussions are underway for the implementation of a similar training model in Nigeria.”
President Jonathan in his speech said Nigeria and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago will continue to strengthen existing collaboration in energy, technical, cultural, educational and scientific cooperation.
Jonathan was the special guest of honour at this year’s Kambule Street Procession marking the 174 years of the emancipation of Trinidad and Tobago which was held amidst pomp and pageantry.
He noted that the Ministry of Energy Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago together with other stakeholders are working on a proposed gas processing plant under the technical energy assistant project with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to harness the country’s huge gas reserves.
Jonathan also challenged the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, especially the blacks on the need to dump slave mentality and play critical and leading roles in the world of commerce, economics, science and technology, insisting slavery should produce leaders.