By Abujah Racheal
The Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), says the programme will enroll 200 ex-agitators for an all-inclusive sports at the the SIA’one Soccer Academy.
Boroh, also the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, said this when the SIA’one Soccer Academy paid him a courtesy call on Thursday in Abuja.
The coordinator said sports would offer many of the youth opportunity that would develop their spirit of volunteerism and also a force for social integration.
He said the collaboration with the SIA’one Soccer Academy is to reintegrate some of the ex-agitators and youths in the Niger Delta region.
He, however, said that sport was one of the most important facets of Niger Delta culture and community, arguing that sports is one of the few activities that can be used to enhance unity and fire up patriotism in the region.
“Sport is a language that everyone can understand and relate with.
“Sport is important for healthy living, personal development and social bonding. Sport 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.
Boro said when people take part in sports, they do so on individual basis, for example, jogging, swimming or going to the gym, rather than friends or family.
“What we can we do is to encourage a sporting lifestyle, not just for individuals, but also in our communities.
“We have two broad strategies. The first strategy is to enhance our sports facilities in the Niger Delta region.
“This is crucial to meeting the sporting and fitness needs of the region,” he said.
He said when youths chose basketball, Football or volleyball as a professional career; it never occurred to them that they would have impact on young people’s lives.
In his remark, the coordinator of SIA’one Mr Samson Saisia said sport is the greatest unifying force in the Nigeria at and the world at large.
Siasia, a former Super eagles coach, commended the Amnesty office under Boroh for coming out with such a brilliant initiative to engage the ex-agitators and youths of the region in sports.
Saisia, who played football for Nigeria, also noted that it is only sports that can bail the region out of pipelines vandalism, if properly funded.
“The youths are the future, hope and custodian of our tomorrow.
“In a couple of months we hope to make a success of the programme,’’ he assured.
Also in his remarks, Mr Farouk Yalu, Chief Executive Officer of Connected Nigeria, said the collaboration with the Academy was for Youths to engage in sports to achieve peace in the region.
Yalu thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for such initiatives and promised that the Academy would not defeat the aim of the policy.