To put paid to illegal bunkering which is devastating the Ogoni environment and affecting the nation’s oil production, the need to put in place holistic measures to get Ogoni youth off this dastardly act has been stressed.
Speaking in an interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt recently, Dr Eddie Wikina, the Managing Director of Treasure Energy Resources Limited said part of the measures should include creating an Ogoni pipeline security management contract, inclusion of the youths in the federal government’s amnesty programme and placing them on monthly stipends which would serve as palliative.
Wikina also noted that government should establish petrochemical industries which would use oil and gas from the area to create jobs and provide regular income for youths of the area.
He stressed the urgent need for all the stakeholders, including federal and State governments, security agencies, community leaders and oil companies to come up with strong measures that would provide regular income for the youths in the area.
According to him, this would divert their attention from the act of pipeline vandalism and bunkering.
His words: “To help get Ogoni youths off bunkering and illegal refineries, I propose we seek government to consider:
“Creating an Ogoni Pipeline Security Contract like the ones they created for the hot militant areas (under Asari and Tompolo). The contract pays the youths to protect pipelines in their domain.
“Include the Ogoni youths in the amnesty programme and place them on monthly stipends as palliative.”
He added that the illegal bunkering and oil pollution had not only caused irreparable damage to Ogoni land and the entire ecosystem, but oil production through pipelines had been badly affected which had led to loss of revenue both to the government and the major producer of crude oil in the area, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
Treasure Energy Resources is a Private Public Company owned by the Rivers State government. It is into petroleum exploration and production and downstream business. The State being a major stakeholder in the oil and gas industry and the repository of petroleum resources, the Governor Amaechi government decided to establish the company to fully utilise the opportunities that existed in the State.