An expert in the oil and gas industry, Dr Eddie Wikina, has urged governments in the key Niger Delta states to invest massively in education to engender the development of talents and creative potentials of youth in the area.
Dr Wikina, who disclosed this during a chat with The Tide at the weekend, said prioritising educational development in the region would lead to a vibrant economy and sustainable development in the area.
He pointed out that though the Niger Delta is the hub of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria, the participation of the people of the region in the sector is dismal.
He stated that the only way the people of the region can participate actively in the oil and gas sector is through functional education.
This, he noted, include the acquisition and application of functional skills.
He decried a situation where the people of the region, especially the youth will continue to engage in illegal and unproductive activities, noting that such tendency was a disincentive to the development of the region.
Dr Wikina also called for a stronger environmental policy to protect the natural environment of the Niger Delta region from further devastation.
Describing the environment, as man’s first right, he emphasised the need to criminalise every damage done to the natural environment especially the abuse of its reserves through bunkering activities and indiscriminate flaring of gas.
Dr Wikina called for a review of the Nigeria energy policy to ensure that it reflects the reality of the Nigeria state, noting that people should be protected from environmental abuses, while community ownership structure should be encouraged.
He called on multinationals and other I.O.Cs operating in the Niger Delta, to improve on community relations policies and ensure that agreements reached with host communities are implemented.
He noted that the breaching of such agreement are the major causes of conflicts between host communities and oil firms.
By: Taneh Beemene.