ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Youth groups in the Niger Delta region have applauded the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, and the Managing Director, Port Harcourt Refinery Company (PHRC), Ahmed Dikko, for their unwavering commitment towards the commencement of the Port Harcourt Refinery rehabilitation.
They described the development as a welcome one for the region, saying that the rehabilitation had raised huge excitement among youth groups and different stakeholders in the region.
They said the stakeholders were upbeat that the project which had already started creating employment for both skilled and unskilled labour should be sustained.
The stakeholders said the development had created a beehive of commercial activities within and around the refinery environment.
Recall that some Nigerians were opposed to the rehabilitation of the refinery as they claimed that refinery rehabilitation was another white elephant and that it should rather be given out on concessions or sold outright to private operators to manage it.
The groups noted that the deployment of Dikko as the MD of PHRC, who himself is an engineer with excellent pedigree in the industry had proved his mettle on several herculean assignments such as the PHRC to supervise the project.
They said it was a clear pointer that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources was more serious than ever before by doing the needful.
The stakeholders came up with this position yesterday after an emergency meeting convened by the National President of the Movement for the Survival of Ijaw Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta (MOSIEND), Comrade Kennedy Tonjo-West.
They said the meeting was aimed at discussing the need for the improvement of the socio-economic and security conditions in the region.
Speaking shortly after the meeting, the President of Niger Delta Youth Coalition for Peace and Progress (NDYCPP), Pastor Teide Jude Olayinka, commended Dikko for carrying the host communities along in the scheme of things.
He cited the recent stakeholders’ engagement with Eleme, Okrika and other communities as a well thought-out initiative to accommodate all areas in the corporate social responsibility which he described as unprecedented, urging him to continue in the confidence-building actions.
He further said that the groups had also worked out modalities on how to partner and positively key into the project, especially in the areas of employment and award of contracts to qualified firms operated by their teeming members depending on the promise of the MD PHRC at different fora, saying that the project could engage about 3,000 workers.
In his remarks, Speaker of the Rivers State Youth Leaders Assembly, Prince Tonye Jeminimiema, said Rivers youths had no option but to support and encourage not just the MD but the management of PHRC and the project.
He appealed to politicians not to politicise the project as it was for the common good of the people of the state and the entire Niger Delta region.