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In an effort to combat the menace of crude oil theft in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta Region, Mr. Moses Siloko Siasia, Chairman of the Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF) and Convener of Niger Delta Young Professionals, has claimed that the Nigerian government is running in circles.
Governors in the Niger Delta, according to him, have overlooked an essential component of ‘human infrastructure’ development, They instead are concentrating on creating public infrastructure, which may not necessarily have an influence on the lives of numerous adolescents in the area.
He claimed that because of the government’s failure to invest in the capacity-building of youths, it may be difficult to place a stop to oil theft in the area.
In a statement released on Wednesday in Port Harcourt, the state capital of Rivers, Mr. Siaisia made this assertion. He commented in light of a recent visit by a group from the Nigerian government to some regional governors.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari, and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, served as the delegation’s leaders.
The political elite of the nation was criticized by the NYPF Chairman for not providing a favorable atmosphere for young development.
‘Governments in the region have been focusing on infrastructure, and forgetting the important element of human infrastructure. There must be a deliberate cut-out strategy to see how sustainable jobs can be created.’
‘Over the years we have been advocating and carrying out programs and encouragement for young people, mostly MSME owners. We foresaw all these things happening several years ago. We spoke about it and nobody listened.’
‘It is unfortunate that some of the institutions in the region that are saddled with the task to carry out interventions, have failed in their responsibilities,” he lamented.’
Mr. Siasia emphasized that the establishment of a strong framework for strategic employment and youth involvement, as well as the implementation of a comprehensive entrepreneurial and skill acquisition program for young persons, are the best ways to stop oil theft in the region.
While praising the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) for their enormous contributions to enhancing human capacity development in the country and the wider region, he urged the government to purposefully direct resources toward strengthening the ability of young people.
The head of NYPF expressed concern that unfairness, theft, and poor management of government resources have become a way of life and that there will not be stability in a distorted society, noting that around 75% of youth in the region are unemployed.
In February 2021, Port Harcourt, Rivers State hosted the first Niger Delta Summit for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), while Asaba, Delta State hosted the second summit in February of this year. Both programs actively empowered hundreds of young people in the region to pursue business.
The Nigerian government has had a hard time controlling oil theft all through the years. Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, the chairman of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, claims that Nigeria lost an astounding $1 billion in earnings as a result of crude oil theft in the first quarter of 2022.