*demand review of economic projects in the region
By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Coalitions of youth groups in the Niger Delta Region of the country have issued a three months ultimatum to international oil companies (IOCs) operating in the area to relocate their corporate headquarters to their base of operations.
The youth leaders under the aegis of the Niger Delta Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Council said that failure by the IOCs to do as demanded would force them to react unfriendly.
They also called on the federal government to as a matter of urgency, resuscitate of moribund economic projects dotted the region that will expand economic and employment opportunities for youths in the region.
President Muhammadu Buhari, they also said should to increase the involvement of young people from the region in the development of the area to curb youth restiveness.
These were contained in a communique issued at the end of their electoral congress in Uyo yesterday that saw the emergence of a new leadership led by Comrade Terry Obieh as President-General to pilot the affairs of the council in the next three years.
The communique was signed by Presidents of 20 ethnic nationalities youth councils across Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Cross River, Bayelsa and Edo states including Engr Okoduagha Aluyah, Chairman of the Board of Trustees/President of Edo youth council leaders.
The communique which gave oil companies a three months’ ultimatum to sign workable Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with their host communities to relocate their headquarters to their area of operation also expressed regret over the deplorable state of Federal roads and ports and other infrastructures in the region.
“The federal government should nominate and work with young persons of the ethnic nationalities. As far as the Niger Delta region lays the golden egg that feed the entire Nation, the land and youths of the region should be developed without delay as we can no longer manage the anger and restiveness of the youth.
“The Council call for political inclusion of youth in governance and advised the Federal Government on issues of local content in the oil marginal field sales as the youths of Anioma, Isoko, Itsekiri, Urhobo and Ijaw protested against the sales in their communities.
“The council appeals to the federal government as a matter of urgency to develop an economic engagement plan for Niger Delta youths through existing projects which will ultimately generate well over 500,000 job opportunities for the youths in the region and help in post COVID-19 economic development plans.
“This will be achieved through the resuscitation of the Export Processing Zones in Delta and Cross River states, the Maritime University in Delta State, reactivation of Calabar, Warri and Port Harcourt Sea Ports, construction of Lagos-Calabar Rail line, reconstruction of East West Road, Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene, Aba-Ikot Ekpene, Calabar-Itu, Owerri-Port Harcourt, Benin Abuja and Isoko-Onitsha roads.
“The federal government should compel the oil companies to sign General MOU’s with communities, if they have not done so, to reduce the crisis between oil companies and the communities. The council also call on the multinational oil companies, as directed by the federal government to immediately within three months of this notice commence the relocation of their headquarters to their oil production base, failure which we might be forced to react.” It said.
The Council tasked the FG to ensure a free, fair and credible election in Edo state by ensuring that adequate security is deployed before, during and after the poll calling on political parties to embrace peaceful electioneering conduct and the youths to shun election violence before and after the election.