The Federal Government has expressed plans to create a reorientation programme aimed at engaging the youth in skills acquisition to address oil and gas infrastructure vandalism.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, stated this at a Town Hall Meeting on “Protecting Oil and Gas Infrastructure” on Monday in Abuja.
Newsmen report that the town hall meeting was organised by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
Akpabio said that the programme would be targeted at the pupils and students of primary and secondary school across the nine states in Niger Delta.
He explained that the Federal Government was currently meeting with stakeholders, traditional rulers, youth groups and all others from one state to the other.
“We are setting up skills acquisition centres, we are training and empowering a lot of youths in the region at the moment.
“And consequently, the ministry is also in the process of developing a reorientation programme targeted at school children between the ages of 10 and 18 years.
“We believe strongly that we must target these youth groups of between 10 and 18 years because some of them who are now craving to enter amnesty programme were seven years old when amnesty was introduced.
“So, we want to let them know that they are not just destroying pipelines, Federal Government infrastructure as they may think but they are actually destroying their own infrastructure and the ecosystem as well as their future.’’
The minister further said that the programme was aimed at developing the right orientation within them and ultimately, leading to the desired peace and progress in the region.
He said that the project was a broad-based approach that would guarantee lasting peace and development of the Niger Delta region through an active orientation of the youth’s approach.
He, therefore, said that the intended outcome of the meeting and the dialogue of the stakeholders would produce the desired result, saying that there will be accelerated progress and sustainable development in the Niger Delta region.