By Emameh Gabriel
In what was described as Amnesty Peace For Sport Initiative In Partnership With Siaone Soccer Academy, the federal government through the Presidential Amnesty program has commenced a new youth engagement and development initiative for youths in the Niger Delta region.
The initiative which draws youths from five states in the Niger Delta is to see the Presidential Amnesty office partnering with Siaone Soccer Academy-a sports academy runs and manages by ex-Super Eagles player and coach, Samson Siasia.
Speaking during the kick off ceremony at the Uyo old stadium, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh said the initiative is an extension of the federal government commitment in building peace and development in the Niger Delta region.
While addressing the young football talents, Boroh said his interest in youth and sports development remains unflinching as “sports is very instrumental to achieving peace in every society, saying the government is committed to the project.
“I will make sure the initiative is sustained. President Muhammadu Buhari is doing everything possible to secure peace for Nigerians, said Boroh who assured that Buhari’s commitment in the development of the Niger Delta is second to none.
He however appealed to them to be of good behavior not only to make their families proud but also make the president proud of them.
While speaking at the event, Siasia thanked the Amnesty boss for coming up with such a brilliant initiative.
Coach Siasia said “the last time we dried it, it didn’t go anywhere. We have five states from the Nigerian Delta represented here.
“Abia State, Akwa Ibom State, Rivers State, Delta and Cross River State are the five states are the five states these young talents were selected from”, said Siasia who revealed that it was not an easy task for him and his crew to fish them out.
He said it is important to catch them young so as to prevent them from being security threat later in the future.
“We have to catch them young that is why we introduced education into the initiative. It is a dual carriage initiative.
“We may have a success story because some of them here may find themselves lucky to be in the national team tomorrow, he said.
Also ex Eagles player, Tijani Babangida, advised the young players to be focused and dedicated to the program as it would develop them to become world class players.
He said they should count themselves very lucky because they are all surrounded by experts who understand football business very well.
One of the young talents Onen Emmanuel Eteng who gave a vote of thank on behalf of his co players, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the initiative, saying it was a life changing initiative that will take them off the street and make them responsible citizens of Nigeria.