Determined to reduce the rising cases of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region, 10,000 youths drawn from 19 states are presently being trained to curtail the menace.
Youths from Edo, Delta, Rivers, Cross River, Bayelsa, Ondo, Ogun, Lagos, Kogi, Niger, Abia, Imo, Kaduna, Gombe, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra and Osun, among others, are being trained on community policing of oil installations and safeguarding pipelines.
During the opening ceremony, which held at the permanent orientation camp of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Issele-Uku, Aniocha North local council of Delta State, National Chairman of Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCON), Mike Emuh, noted that the training programme being organised by the Federal Government would be in batches.Emuh said about 3,000 youths are scheduled for the first batch of the training, while others will follow.
He disclosed that 10 persons were nominated by each host community to be trained on intelligence gathering, physical security strategies, fire fighting and paramilitary training, among others, to protect pipelines in their various communities.
“The people of the Niger Delta region are known for peace. The struggle is all about 13 per cent derivation and establishment of modular refineries, among others,” he said.
He said Nigeria’s unity was non-negotiable and advised President Muhammadu Buhari to avoid the militarisation of the Niger Delta region as it was not a war zone.
The Obasogie of Benin, Chief Eduwu Ekhator, advised the beneficiaries to be good ambassadors of their various communities so that the aim of the programme could be achieved.
National President of the youth wing of HOSTCON, Samuel Success, who spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries, added that the programme would help in tackling youth restiveness and reduce the number of unemployed youths in the area.topics from