To enhance peace, security, development, prosperity and comfort at the oil producing communities of Imo State, stakeholders have urged government and oil companies operating in the areas to quickly build social amenities such as electricity, water, healthcare, road, industries, employ the people to work in the oil conglomerates, train youths on meaningful skills home and overseas, place students and graduates on bursary and scholarships.
They added that poverty, hunger, anger, crime and restiveness which bedevil the oil rich communities will drastically and minimally reduce.
The urge was made during the Niger Delta Region Peace – building Strategy (NDRPS) Implementation Town Hall Meeting organized by PIND Foundation and Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, held in Owerri, on Wednesday.
The participants who were made up of traditional rulers, youth leaders, academicians, women groups, national orientation agency, disabled persons, niger delta affairs, Isopadec, government functionaries, police and civil defense, highlighted that the issues of restiveness, crisis, insecurity and poverty at the oil region were as a result of inability of oil companies operating in the areas to employ the people to work in their companies, implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), as well as maintain their social corporate responsibilities.
In their submissions, Okee Okoro, a Professor with Imo State University, Owerri, President, Imo State Indigenous Union, Lady Irene Ukanwa, representative of Disabled Persons, Amb. Iyke Ibe, National Council for Women Society, Mrs. Ego Ibeh and Sylva Ndubuisi, NUJ Chairman, Imo State, Comr. Ifeanyi Nwanguma, said niger delta region is underdeveloped due to sheer government neglect and urged government to do the needful by installing social amenities, educating the people properly by engaging them on mental skills.
While the Sole Administrator of Oru West LGA, Hon. Willie Okoliogwo, Dr. Fatima Ijeoma Emetuma, Head of Admin (CSTS), Ministry of Niger Delta, Ekwem Longinus and Chief of Staff in ISOPADEC, Hon. Okechukwu Igwe stressed that there is need for government and oil companies to initiate dialogue among agitating youths in the communities instead of using military, police and civil defense to enforce peace at the areas.
Also contributing, traditional rulers of Nkwesi and Isopadec Chairman, HRM, Eze Prof. Amuzienwa Dele Odigbo and Oguta, HRH, Eze Nzeribe called for constant communication among government, oil companies and host communities, saying such a measure when attained would reduce conflict and crisis at the oil producing communities.
The royal fathers demanded that a committee be set up to fine tune the interaction between the town unions and other youth and women organizations in the areas.
However, one of the facilitators of the workshop, Chilos Godsent, explained that PIND is geared “to create a framework for continuous multi- stakeholder engagement and support to the state governments in establishing a regional security outfit that considers the uniqueness of each state”.