The Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSCON) says it will engage 10, 000 youths in petroleum production to safeguard the country’s crude oil from theft.
Its National President, Dr Mike Emuh, made this known in Awka on Monday during the inauguration of local government council chapters’ leadership of the group in Anambra.
Emuh said HOSCON was worried about the level of theft at the community level, saying that the group would complement the efforts of the Federal Government in securing the resources.
He said 10 youths would be recruited from every impacted community where petroleum product mining, refining, transpiration or storage was going on.
He said there had been the menace of oil theft in the country over the years through bunkering activities like bush loading, pipeline vandalism, illegal refinery and others.
Emuh said that HOSCON had put in place a template for surveillance in all the host communities.
“The best way to tackle this menace is to incorporate the youths from these communities. That is why HOSCON is recruiting 10 persons in each impacted community.
“We are targeting employing 10, 000 across the HOSCON communities out of which 6,000 have been trained.
“They have been approved by the Federal Government. They have a uniform and are operating under a registered HOSCON security company and since they came on board, oil theft has drastically reduced,” he said.
Emuh urged the Federal Government to include Anambra State in the 13 per cent derivation for oil producing states in the country, having been declared one since August 2012.
He said the Anambra people who were qualified for membership of HOSCON had not been able to benefit from the agricultural grants and loans of the Federal Government as their members in other states.
Also speaking, Mrs Joy Igboka, the National Financial Officer of HOSCON and leader of the group in the state, said the efforts to set up the structure had been on since 2013.
Igboka said there was need for the government and elites of Anambra to join the masses as represented by HOSCON to get what was due to the state, saying they could not get it on their own.
“We in HOSCON have done our best but our government, the elites and the members of the National Assembly have to speak up on this exclusion we are passing through.
“The governor has to interface with us because when the benefits start coming, it is the government of the day that will control it.
“The masses of Anambra should get what their contemporaries in other states are getting,’’ she said.