A South East pressure group, Movement for Just Utilization of Resources in the South East (M-JURSE) has called on the federal government to grant oil pipeline protection contracts to youths of oil producing and pipeline host communities in the South East as means of stemming the tide of vandalization and oil theft in the region.
In a Communique issued in Awka on Wednesday, M-JURSE warned that the deteriorating state of the economy required all hands on deck in order to stabilize the situation and improve both local production and exports, and that the federal government should focus on proper harnessing of resources in d South East of the country in order to boost revenue accruing to the federation account.
The Communique which was signed by the national coordinator of the group, Barr Stanley Okafor, who is also a frontline activist, noted that “it has become imperative to voice the need for the federal government to look more inward and into means of integrating the South East in main stream national life and co-opting it’s youths as partners in the sourcing and protection of resources found in the region, including Infrastructure neccesary for oil exploration production and conveyance”.
The Communique noted that youths in the South East were willing and capable of protecting oil infrastructure situated in the region, and that granting authourity and license to these youths will be a workable way to check youth restiveness in the region.
“We are also calling on the federal government to initiate steps to conduct environmental impact assessment in Enugu and surrounding areas where coal was exploited for about one hundred years at a time when the commodity was substitute to oil and served as one of the greatest exports of the country. You cannot today drill water in the Enugu area, and the entire area is hollow underneath as you can go from the beginning of the old city to the end through coal tunnels below. We therefore hope that in all fairness the government would show sincere interest in assessing the impact of these years of exploitation to it’s environment with a view to making adequate compensation to the region”.
While speaking to correspondents on the matter, Comrade Innocent Nduanya who is also deputy president of the National Youths Council of Nigeria and doubles as national ex officio of the group stated that gold deposits and other precious stones in the South East should be exploited with greater coordination and purpose, and that the group would reach out to necessary organs of the federal government to press home their demands in a responsible but firm manner.
“There is no doubt that we have abundant geological deposits in Ebonyi, Enugu, Anambra Imo and Abia states and we want the federal government to exploit these resources with youths of the region as partners in progress in the process. We need the youths to be that engaged so that they can become national vanguards, and that way peace and national identity can begin to be restored. We need youths of our oil producing communities to be part of contracts for safeguarding oil pipelines in the region” Nduanya said.
The group stated that it would be calling a wider conference soon on the matter.