—-Says 10,000 youths have lost their jobs
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJ – NIGER Delta Youth Leaders has told President Muhammadu Buhari to remove the Group Managing Director, GMD of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, so as to avert looming crisis in the Niger Delta region.
The youth leaders alleged that the relative peace being enjoyed in the zone will become a thing of the past if Baru continues in office, claiming that criminal activities are gradually returning in the region as a result of the alleged insensitivity and inefficiency of the GMD.
A statement signed by the Acting National President of the youth group, Pastor Olayinka Tiedor and the Acting National Secretary, Jude John Nicholas , alleged that Baru had rubbished all the peace building process initiated by previous administrations in the region, adding that about 10 thousand youths have lost their jobs since the administration of the GMD.
The statement read, “Niger Delta Youth Leaders have observed with dismay what apparently is the parlour state of affairs at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC which is currently marred by ineffective and lack of visionary leadership, thereby undermining the peace-building process in the Niger Delta region
“From all indications, the present Group Managing Director GMD of the Corporation Maikanti Baru seems not to understand the sensitive nature of the issues at hand, especially the community relations component of their policies and programmes, a setback that impacts negatively on the peace-building initiative in the oil rich region.
“A clear example is the fact that petroleum products are not being supplied to the Riverine communities of the Niger Delta, even though these essential products are sourced from their backyards, which makes them even more vulnerable to the negative effects of oil exploration and exploitation activities in the Niger Delta.
“Although it is within the purview of the NNPC to give policy direction on how to carry the host communities along in line with its corporate social responsibility, the current leadership of NNPC under Baru appears short-sighted and averse to tackling these issues.
“During the reign of former President Obasanjo, he initiated the Mega fuel stations scheme to cater for the petroleum products demands of the riverine communities, a laudable initiative which to a large extent was successful amidst few setbacks.
Two years after he resumed duties, the NNPC GMD has failed to address the shortfall in the supply of Petroleum products at the Riverine communities in the Niger Delta, hence leaving the people to source about 80% – 90% of products they consume through illegal sources.
“The current leadership of NNPC under Baru has rendered over 10 thousand youths who hitherto were gainfully employed in the pipeline Surveillance scheme Jobless.
“The pipelines Surveillance scheme was a collaborative exercise with the conventional security services, especially the Operation Delta Safe (JTF) and the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to ensure that pipelines criss-crossing the creeks, swamps, mangroves and the upland areas of the Niger Delta are not vandalized, sabotaged or compromised by criminally minded elements.
“Though there were issues of irregularities with the scheme, we expected the GMD to have reviewed and it to be more transparent, accountable and efficient in its implementation and execution.
“The Niger Delta is gradually relapsing to violent criminal activities again because of the look warm and insensitive style of leadership of the current GMD of NNPC who obviously does care about the yearnings of the host communities.
“The current leadership of NNPC has no clear cut programmes tailored to cater for the sufferings of host communities. It is these perceived neglect of host communities that is responsible for several agitations in the region.
“Baru is more interested in embarking on a wild goose chase by pushing for oil exploration at the troubled and highly Volatile Lake Chad basin, an area Boko Haram killed and abducted officials sent there for exploration exercise. Baru has not told Nigerians how much has been spent on that exercise.
“The Operation Delta Safe (JTF) is trying very much to maintain law and order in the region. We have not seen anything NNPC is doing to encourage and strengthen their operations in form of logistics.
“Not too long ago, Baru did a lopsided
reshufflement of NNPC top management staff that affected about 55 persons. The Niger Delta was undermined in that skewed exercise. In fact, of all the GMD’s of NNPC in recent records, the current GMD Maikanti Baru is the most insensitive to the plight of the host communities.
“Since his assumption of office almost 2 years now, he has not called for any stakeholders meeting. The gains of the Vice President’s visit to the region are gradually eroding as tension is mounting again.
“We call on the federal government to investigate the NNPC under Maikanti Baru. He should be placed on suspension in a transparent manner while investigations on his perceived highandedness in the running of the NNPC be set in motion.”