BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN
Dr. Mike Emuh, National Chairman of the Host Communities Producing Oil and Gas Nigeria (HOSTCON), has given kudos to the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the recruitment of 10,000 youths of the Niger Delta to take over the duty of surveillance of gas pipelines and securing of all oil installations across the country.
He disclosed that so far 5,000 youths have benefited from the pipelines surveillance and security training programme held in Delta State (3,000);Rivers State(1,000) and Edo State(1,000).
He said that the training programme is hinged on information gathering, intelligence and security.
“It’s not about carrying weapons. They will carry pen and telephone handsets. They will work with the JTF(Joint Task Force) to report any illegal activities like bunkering, illegal refineries, pipeline vandalism and bush loading.”
Dr. Emuh asserted that when it’s finally implemented it will boost job opportunities for the youths of the region.
He added that the government is also creating avenue for job opportunities for the youths of Niger Delta via mechanised agriculture and even modular refineries such that “no youth in the region will be lured into criminality.”
The HOSTCON chairman however appealed to the government to make haste and sign the pipelines surveillance contract with his group.
“It’s known that in the past the Federal Government awarded contract to the tune of over N60 billion yearly for the protection of oil pipelines and facilities. But the government was still losing over N100 billion.
“The cabal and cartel were the ones sabotaging the government’s efforts. So, the government should not delay in signing the oil pipelines surveillance contract with us(HOSTCON).
“The training we have been doing so far has not been supported by any oil company, state or federal government. Neither has the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC) nor Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) supported us.
“Thus the government should not let these youths we have trained to go back to the creeks idle. As they say an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
“Moreover, we need to stem the destruction of our ecosystem caused by oil pipelines vandalism and illegal oil bunkering,” Dr. Emuh posited.
He gave kudos to the Edo State Government under the leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki and the Benin Monarch, His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Ogidigan, Ewuare 11 for their support in ensuring that the trainees in Benin have an enabling environment for the exercise.
BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN