Abuja - Mr Kingsley Kuku, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, says the Federal Government's amnesty programme had added value to the relative peace in the Niger Delta.
Kuku, who is also the Chairman, Presidential Amnesty programme, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja that the relative peace in the restive Niger Delta had led to an "astronomic" growth in the nation’s economy.
"I can say with all certainty that the amnesty programme has not only added value to the country’s celebration of the 52nd Independence but it has also added value to this nation and this nation’s economy.
"From a paltry production level of 700,000 barrels crude oil per day at the peak of the Niger Delta crisis in the first quarter of 2009, Nigeria currently produces 2.7 million barrels per day. It is even close to three million per day.
"Computed with prevailing exchange rate of about N160 to the dollar, daily production savings for Nigeria and the Joint Venture partners currently stands at a minimum of N33.4 billion per day.’’
"It will be safe to emphatically assert that savings for Nigeria and the Joint venture partners for 2011 is estimated to be a whopping N6 trillion."
He said that the Nigerian economy was witnessing growth, adding: "Today, the projection of key developmental partners is that the Nigerian economy is growing close to seven per cent, higher than that of South Africa."
The special adviser said that the had diversified the economy by making great strides in agriculture, information technology and other areas that were emphasised by previous governments.
According to him, the Presidential Amnesty Office had so far trained almost 13 000 of the 26 358 former agitators who were disarmed and demobilised.
Kuku said that some of the beneficiaries underwent formal education in four universities in the country while others were admitted for various courses in 19 universities in nine countries.
He said some of them studied electrical, computer and petro-chemical engineering, radio information, mass communication, biological sciences, physics, chemistry and mathematics.
"Some were trained in 27 onshore centres in the country and 27 offshore centres in 20 countries across four continents such as Africa, Asia, Europe and America.
"They were trained in pipeline welding, crane operation, electrical work and automobile installation, among others," Kuku said.