By Festus Ahon
UGHELLIâ€”CHAIRMAN of Ughelli North local government council, Delta State, Mr. Kenneth Kesiena Ibru, has charged youths in the Niger Delta to embrace peace and drop their arms in the interest of sustainable development of the region.
Ibru made the call yesterday at the local government headquarters, Ughelli, while declaring open a one-day awareness / sensitization workshop on oil and gas explorations, pipeline vandalization and their effects on the environment organized for Urhobo youths by Niger Delta Re-Orientation Project (NDRP).
According to him, the youths as leaders of tomorrow should shun acts that are capable of ruining their future and future of generations yet unborn.
He added that the council was committed to the security and well being of the people of the council area.
In his address, the National Coordination of the (NDRP), Comrade Sheriff Mulade, said they were committed to re-orientating and institutionalizing civil behaviour in their oil-bearing communities.
Mulade, however, decried that their communities have been heavily impacted negatively because of oil and gas pollution, corrosion and pipeline vandalization, adding that their ecosystem had been destroyed.
He said:Â Â â€œWe can no longer pretend not to be aware of the deteriorating and collapsing situation of our environment that have totally destroyed our livelihood of farming, fishing, etc the consequences of which will be disastrous in the future.
â€œI want to urge all the Urhobo youths and community leaders not to be reluctant, relent or hesitate to do whatsoever is necessary to protect their environment/land. Please donâ€™t allow yourself to be used as thugs, pipeline vandals, kidnappers, hostage takers because these can hinder the development of Urhobo land and the nation in general.
â€œIt is pertinent to note that no country or leadership will humiliates its own citizens without facing the consequences, because when you injure a manâ€™s ego, it will lead him to become violent, that is why the Nigeria nation today is expecting all sort of attacks on its oil facilities, as a result of its insensitivity towards addressing the core fundamental issues in the Niger Delta.â€
According to him; â€œthe Niger Delta is faced with a lot of challenges bothering on pollution and pipeline vandalism.
â€œMajority of the stakeholders in the region, particularly the youths, believe that the only and best way to get government and oil companiesâ€™ attention is through attack on oil pipelines without putting into consideration the environmental and economic implication.
â€œLittle do we know that the greatest effect is on our environment, which have damaged the entire ecosystem and the bio-diversity, which can take many years to restore to its natural form.
â€œIt is imperative to note that incidences of violence, pipeline vandalization in the Niger Delta are now on the increase, and if no holistic efforts are geared toward curbing it, within the confined of our community leadership and government in no distant future, no one can pretend to be saved.â€
He insisted that until the youths of Ughelli and Urhobo nation disallowed themselves to be used as thugs, pipeline vandals, kidnappers and hostage takers, no person or group of persons would infiltrate into their territory and commit these ugly acts that could destroy their natural occupation of farming and fishing.