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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Youth group urges end to pipeline vandalism in Niger Delta region

A youth organisation, called Niger Delta Youth Peace Builders, has appealed to the youths in the region to desist from crime and social vices, including pipeline vandalism, in desperate pursuit of wealth.

Abubakar Momoh
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Abubakar Momoh

The National President of the group, Mr Emmanuel Chibuike, made the appeal at a one-day sensitisation on “The impact of sabotage and vandalisation of pipelines in our environment”, organised by the group in Umuahia, Abia State, on Wednesday, March 27, 2024.

Chubuike blamed the hardship, general poverty and bleak future for youths in the region on the unscrupulous activities of pipeline vandals.

He said: “We stand here today united by a common goal: building a future for ourselves and our beloved Niger Delta.

“A future where peace reigns, opportunities flourish, and our environment thrives.

“However, the path to this future is marred by a significant obstacle – pipeline sabotage and vandalism.”

According to him, the destructive practice not only wounds our potential.

“Lost revenue from damaged pipelines means fewer schools, fewer hospitals and fewer opportunities for all of us.

“It fuels poverty and hopelessness, creating fertile ground for conflict and unrest,” Chibuike said.

He argued that the Niger Delta youths were not defined by such negative tendencies but “have the potential to be agents of change and architects of a thriving future”.

“We will explore peaceful alternatives to channel our energy and aspirations into constructive pursuits to build businesses, creating art and shaping a sustainable future for our region,” he said.

Chibuike, however, contended that achieving the objective required all hands to be on deck.

He said: “But remember, change cannot be achieved by a few.

“It requires a collective will and the choice for the path of peace and progress.”

He charged the participants to “become ambassadors for peace in our communities, spreading awareness and encouraging others to join our cause.”

“Let us seize this opportunity. Let us use this programme as a launch pad for a brighter future, a future where the Niger Delta is known not for its struggles but its resilience, innovation and unwavering pursuit of peace and prosperity.

Chubuike commended the Peace in the South-East Project, launched recently by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Benjamin Kalu.

He said that the initiative “offers a beacon of hope, demonstrates that through dialogue, collaboration and commitment, we can overcome challenges and build a more peaceful and prosperous region.”

He thanked the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Samuel Ogbuku, and the board for sponsoring the programme.

“It shows their commitment to investing in our future, equipping us with the knowledge and skills needed to become active citizens to contribute to building a better tomorrow,” Chubuike said.

Delivering a lecture on the negative impacts of pipeline vandalism in the region, the Guest Lecturer, Dr Jonah Orji, urged the youths to shun the criminal act and engage in legitimate ventures.

Orji described the negative consequences of indulging in acts of pipeline sabotage and vandalism as numerous and devastating, including explosion, environmental pollution and horrendous deaths.

The Chairman of the event and keynote speaker, Mr Onyendi Okwulehie, further underscored the need for the youths to eschew criminal tendencies and pursue the path of honour in their quest for wealth.

Okwulehie regretted that society no longer encourage hard work and enterprise but worship money bags without minding the means of their wealth.

He argued that ill-gotten wealth does not endure, hence the youths should work hard to earn legitimate wealth and good name.

In a goodwill message, a social activist, Chika Nwabueze, described the programme as imperative to equip the leaders of tomorrow.

Nwabueze said that such workshops should be organised regularly to help shape their world view and approach to life.

Nwabueze urged the youths to remain positive, focused and shun the get-rich-quick syndrome.

“Discover the innate talent in you and develop it and the sky will be your limit.

“Take the message home that crime does not pay.

“Pipeline vandalism is a crime against one’s country and anyone caught engaging in it would be made to go in for it,” he said.

Nwabueze further described the nation’s youths as progressive, enterprising and resilient, needing the right atmosphere to excel.

Some of the participants thanked NDDC and the conveners for organising the programme to help check vandalism and other criminal tendencies amongst the youths in the region.

Messrs Jessey Ume-Kalu of Styles and Concepts urged women to join the campaign against pipeline vandalism, notwithstanding that women were not known to involve in the crime.

Somalia Okechukwu, also of Styles and Concepts, urged NDDC and parents to encourage and mentor the youths of the region to go into agriculture as a means of livelihood.

By Leonard Okachie

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