The Federal Government has concluded a plan to engage 10,000 youths from the oil-bearing communities to secure pipelines in the Niger Delta region.
The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh, announced the plan at a press conference in Abuja on Monday.
Boroh also stated that the abductors of the students of the Lagos State Model School who demanded to be included in the Amnesty Programme as a condition for the release of the kids would be among those to be engaged to secure the nation’s pipelines.
He said, “The Presidential Amnesty Programme is responsible for interacting with nine state governments including Ondo State and we are aware of what is happening there. They (kidnappers) are also part of those that will benefit from the Federal Government inclusive principle in ensuring that the youths of the region are adequately accommodated in the areas of inclusiveness.
“Inclusiveness means ‘what do we do in ensuring that the youths from the oil-bearing communities are engaged adequately in the oil business?’ It could be pipeline surveillance; it could be part of the modular refinery initiative. All these things will go a long way to engaging the youths. While most of the youths have taken it beyond the normal approach is because they are not adequately employed.
“I have got names of persons from almost all the states; we will collate them and when I meet with our ministerial group, we will look at it holistically to see how we can get them but nothing fewer than 10,000 youths are going to be engaged from the oil producing states because it has to do with surveillance of the pipelines. All of them are going to be included.”
When asked if the plan to engage the 10,000 youths would not be hijacked, Boroh said the exercise would involve the leadership of the various communities who had forwarded names of youths from the oil-producing communities to his office.
He added that the programme was designed to ensure that those from the producing areas were given the opportunity to benefit from it, stressing that the involvement of community leaders would make it impossible for the programme to be hijacked.
On the establishment of the Nigerian Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State, Boroh debunked insinuations that the Federal Government had dropped the idea of establishing the institution.
He said the university, which was one of the reasons for the visit of the Pan Niger Delta Forum to the Presidential Villa, would take off in the next academic year as the government had spent much on the school and had already appointed a vice-chancellor.