The plan by the Federal Government to recruit youths of the Niger Delta for security of oil and gas assets in the region is now being threatened with altercation between The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and leadership of Host Communities of Nigeria, producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM) as to which group would be responsible for the exercise aimed at creating jobs as well as protection of the pipelines.
While PANDEF said the recruitment of the youths for the pipeline surveillance was part of its 16 point demands from the Federal Government, HOSTCOM claimed that the programme was its initiative while being member of the body until recently when it pulled out of Chief Edwin Clark led group.
“For the avoidance of doubt and for the benefit of Federal Government and all relevant stakeholders, the development and adoption of a comprehensive program for the security surveillance of oil and gas Pipelines in the Niger Delta Region is an item in what is now better known worldwide as the PANDEF 16 -Point Agenda, which has been adopted by the Federal Government as the Working Document for the new vision for the development of the Niger Delta Region.”
PANDEF said since then it had been in constant touch and consultation with the offices of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, the Presidential Adviser to President on Niger Delta, and other relevant authorities towards evolving an appropriately acceptable structure for deploying a sustainable engagement process in the oil and gas producing communities.
It recalled that recently, the 2nd National Council on the Niger Delta (NCND) held at Akure with the Theme: ‘Fast-Tracking the Development and Peace in the Niger Delta Region: Options and Prospects’, stakeholders were unanimous on the need to work together in synergy to sustain the peace, and to fast-track development efforts in the region.
“This is a Platform put together by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs where government and all relevant stakeholders converge to articulate views and policy decisions regarding the development of the Niger Delta Region,” PANDEF maintained.
Reacting to the claim of PANDEF in an interview with THISDAY, National Chairman of HOSTCOM, Dr. Mike Emuh, said the project was the initiative of his group as members of PANDEF until recently when he and some members withdrew from PANDEF and formed another platform to speak for the people of the region.
Dr. Emuh, who spoke through his Media Coordinator, Chief Monday Whiskey, said that PANDEF had lost its leadership position as the spokesman of the people of the region and that it was the reason HOSTCOM embarked on the screening of 10,000 youths preparatory to when the Federal Government would be ready for the take-off of the pipeline surveillance job.
PANDEF maintained, “As topical and volatile as it concerns the surveillance and security of oil and gas assets, the NCND considered the urgent need to expedite development of the model which would be made available to all stakeholders for input and subsequent adoption, for implementation.
“It is spurious therefore, that a certain Mike Emuh, of HOSTCOM is claiming to have screened and engaged 10,000 youths across the Niger Delta for a program yet to take off. This is dangerous and has the tendency for igniting tension and crisis, especially given the wide interest and expectation among the youths of the oil producing communities of the region.
“Our background search and visit to both the National Secretariat of HOSTCOM in Warri, Delta State, and other Stakeholders reveal that Mike Emuh has been impersonating as National Chairman of HOSTCOM, engaged in underhand deals, along with his cohorts, to take advantage of unsuspecting and desperate job seekers by collecting various sums of money in the guise of providing security and surveillance jobs for them, and that these complaints have already been lodged with the appropriate authorities, for necessary action,” it added.topics from