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About 150 ex-militants from Cross River State have departed the state capital to Abuja for a skill acquisition program under the ECOWAS-EU Small arms project.
The National Project Coordinator of the Nigerian Component of the ECOWAS-EU Small arms project, Dickson Orji, who spoke to journalists at the departure of the team said the move marks a major milestone in the implementation of the weapons collection program between Africa and Europe.
According to him, the first batch of the selected beneficiaries are being lifted to the various centres of excellence across Nigeria where they would undergo training on skills of their choices.
“The skill acquisition training is part of the 5th output, the Alternative Livelihood part of the project. The Skills Training support is targeted at 300 beneficiaries in two South-South States of Akwa Ibom & Cross River. It entails skills acquisition and attitudinal training, vocational training, business development training career development, agricultural business greenhouse farming etc.
Orji who represent the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Emmanuel Imohe explained that “The gestations period of the skill acquisition varies from one to two months with a well-tailored curriculum dedicated to ensuring easy assimilation and entrepreneurship development of the beneficiaries.
“The Presidential Committee on Small Arms & Light Weapons (PRESCOM) and the Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment (LITE-Africa) are responsible for implementing the Nigerian component of the project which is mainly a “Pilot Weapons Collection Programme”.
”The project is an initiative of the ECOWAS Commission, funded by the European Union within the broader context”.
The seven countries involved in the pilot phase are Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Niger and Mali.
The pilot phase of the project is focused on seven states of Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara in the North West region, Cross River and Akwa Ibom in the South-South region.