Hon. Kingsley Kuku
Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Federal Government has said it would train youths of Ogoniland, Rivers State, on environmental remediation to enable them participate in the clean-up of the area as recommended by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report.
Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Matters, Hon. Kingsley Kuku, said Saturday during an interactive session with youth leaders from Ogoni at the Presidential Hotel in Port Harcourt that he would use his office to ensure that the Presidency accepts the need to have a local content in the clean-up exercise. He said the participation of the youth in the exercise would improve the living standards of the people.
Kuku, who is also chairman of the Federal Government Amnesty Programme, debunked claims that Ogoni youths were excluded in the Federal Government’s amnesty programme, explaining that the exercise was strictly for those who surrendered their arms on or before October 4, 2009 and were adequately gazetted to be trained and re-incorporated into the society.
He stated that scores of Ogoni youths are beneficiaries of the program, adding that he would continue to insist that community people are employed to protect the oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region other than hiring people from other parts of the country.
According to Kuku, “The only person who can protect the oil pipelines in the states of the Niger Delta is the man who owns the oil. There is no point bringing people from elsewhere to protect pipelines that run through my backyard. He can’t protect it better than I will do.”
He re-emphasised that the implementation of the UNEP report on Ogoniland was key in the development of the area, noting that there was a need to continue to support the quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to improve the economic standard of the oil producing communities.
“I will push for the Ogoni youths to be involved in the clean-up of the Ogoni environment so that they too can benefit from whatever money that will be voted for that exercise.
“We need to start now to train the youths in preparation for the clean- up exercise.
We don’t need to wait for another two or three months before we begin to think of training our people for environmental remediation. The training exercise will be done in our communities for the purposes of environmental compliance,” Kuku explained.