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The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) has justified its new policy mandating all those desiring to benefit from its scholarship scheme to first take the examination organised by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB).

PAP said the new policy was designed to eliminate mediocrity in the scheme as the programme continued  with its quest to transform  ex-agitators into well-educated entrepreneurs and employable citizens capable of contributing meaningfully to the economic prosperity of the Niger Delta region and the nation at large.

“To this end, the PAP came up with a new policy mandating every prospective scholarship candidate to take the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination as one of the criteria to qualify for PAP scholarship”, PAP’s Interim Administrator, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio said in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Nneotaobase Egbe.

Dikio, who urged delegates and all stakeholders to get onboard the train of success appealed for calm from persons opposing the JAMB policy.

He said the policy was vital for the personal, intellectual and mental growth and development of the delegate and  also crucial to the development and economic growth of the Niger Delta.

He further explained that the PAP was focused on ensuring that beneficiaries of PAP scholarship were able to compete for placement in the best universities and primed to be major players in the knowledge-based world.

Decrying the gradual decline of the university system, Dikio, said it was imperative for the programme to be more intentional about the kind of talent it churned out to the society.

He said: “What is the Amnesty deal? Does it equate mediocrity? Our universities are turning out an army of unskilled unemployable adults into a labour market bursting at the seams.

“Even worse, evidence abounds that 80% of the current recipients of PAP scholarship are not ex-agitators. This is a major anomaly that must be corrected.

“We have designed our deployment process to ensure that 70% of delegates for scholarship must be ex-agitators whose names are in our database, 20% will be from Niger Delta impacted communities and 10% will be discretionary. Thus, those who cannot go to the university will be given vocational training.”

The Administrator cited the examples of ex-militant leader, High Chief Bibopere Ajube alias Shoot at Sight and a host of others who did not have the so-called vaunted “university education” as leading lights of industry and employers of labour.

He also said that the intention of the PAP was to align to best practices for university admission, give scholarships to persons with high potential to graduate, eliminate favouritism and scholarship rackets.

“PAP was set up to drive massive manpower and capacity development in the Niger Delta region to encourage foreign and local investments while mitigating the security issues at the same time. The PAP leadership is committed to restoring this mandate of the Programme to its original intent”, the statement said.

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