…says closure will lead to 1,500 job loss
By Samuel Oyadongha – Yenagoa
Ijaw youths from the states of the Niger Delta under the aegis of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide have sent a Save-Our-Soul letter to the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike over the plan to shut down the operations of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC,) at the Kidney Island located in the Abonema wharf area of Port Harcourt.
According to the IYC, though the issues involved in the anticipated shut down of Shell operations in the area is purely a judicial action, the plea for Gov. Wine’s intervention is based on his humane disposition to issues affecting youths and to protect the over 1,500 jobs domicile in the area.
The Secretary-General of the IYC, Comrade Alfred Kemepado, in a chat with newsmen yesterday in Yenagoa, said that the threatened operations of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) at Kidney Island will affect indigenous logistics providers numbering over 1,500 youths within and outside Rivers State.
According to Kemepado, “such job fortune should rather be protected, preserved and promoted in a manner that could spin more jobs and not jeopardized by a contrary interest.”
The IYC scribe stated that “Rivers State, despite been an oil-rich state, is still one of the states in need of providing more employment for youths and it is noticed that Governor Wike is doing everything to increase opportunities for youths.
“Hence our call on Governor Wike and Rivers State not to encourage any act that will lead to the loss of jobs in Port Harcourt especially in the Kidney Island facility. That the IYC would always be in support of the Rivers State government holding to account the activities of International Oil Companies (IOCs).
“But the IYC would not also fail to point out actions that have negative implications on our people as the recent action by the government of Rivers State would deplete gainfully employed youths in Kidney Island, Port Harcourt.
“That unemployment leads many youths into the uncontrolled intake of drugs and indulgence crime with an adverse effect on the state and everything should be done to avoid the loss of any job in Rivers State.
“That the IYC in collaboration with other youth organisations in Niger Delta, such as the Rumuwoji youths, are doing everything possible to make Rivers State a safe haven for investors to attract more investments. That there has been a deliberate de-marketing of Rivers State and other Niger Delta states by our detractor competitors.
“And that this kind of avoidable rift between our people and SPDC over the operations at kidney island, if not decently handled, would only give more relevance to the sour stories told about our region.”
The IYC scribe also advised that “Rivers state and the entire region, should be doing more to retain investments operating within this region. That there are many government jetties wasting in Rivers State and the Niger Delta without providing the kind of jobs provided by the SPDC and partners joint operations at the Kidney Island.”
He advised that Governor wike should not allow politics to take over the issues and allow filtering away of jobs in a state that he is doing everything possible to keep safe, “we have noticed that Governor Wike is compelling contractors, who recently entered into contract with the Rivers State Government, to ensure engagement of locals and that a Governors, like Wike, with such heart for the youths, will not allow anything to filter away jobs and dampen the corporate integrity of the state.”