By Emma Amaize
WARRI – Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, and the Host Communities of Nigeria, HOSTCOM, weekend, disagreed over the engage-ment of 10,000 youths for security surveillance of oil and gas pipelines in Niger Delta, promised by the Federal Government.
PANDEF, in a statement by the Coordinating Secretary, Dr. Alfred Mulade, dismissed comments by National Chairman of HOSTCOM, Prince Mike Emuh, whose leadership it called to question, that the Federal Government, in partnership with the group, had screened and engaged 10,000 Niger Delta youths for pipeline surveillance.
Pointing out that security surveillance of oil and pipelines in the region was part of its 16-point demand of the regional body to the Federal Government, Mulade said: “It is spurious, therefore, that a certain Mike Emuh of HOSTCOM is claiming to have screened and engaged 10,000 youths across the Niger Delta for a programme yet to take off.
“This is dangerous and has the tendency to ignite tension and crisis, especially given the wide interest and expectation among the youths of the oil-producing communities of the region.
“Since Emuh’s episode began, PANDEF has been inundated with calls and representations from various stakeholders, including the authentic HOSTCOM leadership, of this disturbing activities of Mike Emuh and his co-travellers, and the negative security implications for the region, and the need to nip it in the bud.”
Reacting to the attack by PANDEF, Director of Media and Publicity, HOSTCOM, Prince Monday Whiskey, said: “Prince Emuh is the authentic National Chairman of HOSTCOM and had held two or three meetings with PANDEF, both in Abuja and Kiagbodo country home of Chief Edwin Clark.
“So, at what point did PANDEF realise that he is not the National Chairman of HOSTCOM.
“PANDEF is misleading people because of the selfishness of few of its leaders. Emuh never claimed to have engaged 10,000 Niger Delta youths.
“It is the Federal Government that said it was going to engage 10,000 youths in pipeline security and HOSTCOM, under the leadership of Emuh, has keyed into it.
“Some people can continue to act as if leadership of the region is their birthright, but we have moved on to provide better leadership for the region.”