BENIN CITY – Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has reiterated government’s readiness to engage youths in rural communities including youths in oil producing communities with economic opportunities in the bid to curb their nefarious activities which hamper economic growth and development, saying that job creation is part of his campaign promises to Edo youths.
Speaking while receiving the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru at the Government House, Benin City, Wednesday, Governor Obaseki said, “Part of our promise is to create a minimum of two hundred thousand jobs over the next four years. One of the things we need to do to stabilize those communities is to give the young people opportunities. So, we are revamping our technical schools. We are revamping our vocational sector and also reviewing our school curriculum to ensure that the kind of education we offer is such that will give them work when they finish school. We want to emphasize this more in the oil producing communities. Our plan is to pool in resources: resources from your partners, resources from the agencies of the federal government and our own EDSOPADEC and have a plan, more like a master plan for oil producing communities.”
Governor Obaseki continued, “So, we will be sharing with you in the next couple of months our own plan which is more like a master plan for our oil producing communities so that whatever fund the corporation or its partners intend to direct to those communities will be coordinated so that we can get more value for money going in there. We will also emphasize what we think is most important, and we need rapid development for those communities. Training and vocational training is our priority.”
Finally the Governor said, “We want to thank you for this visit and to assure you that in us, you have a host community who understands you and we are willing to work with you.”
Speaking earlier, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maicanti Baru congratulated Governor Godwin Obaseki on his victory in the recent election and pledged to support him in his quest to establish industries in Edo State. He said, “Let me use this opportunity to congratulate you as the Executive Governor of Edo State on your successful election as the Governor of Edo State. This election is a further testimony of the confidence the entire Edo people repose in your leadership capabilities to take Edo to the next level. I could hear the vibrancy with which you want to elevate the State. We in NNPC promise to support you in your aspiration to bring industrial elevation to the State. Your aspiration to build an industrial park will be heavily supported, both in terms of gas supply and if fact, if it requires us to partner in power generation, we will also do.”
The GMD who was accompanied by some top management staff of the Coroporation further said, “I would like to appreciate the support of the Edo State Government in its efforts with the various security agencies in the state towards safeguarding our upstream subsidiary companies: NPDC and IDSL, pipelines, depot, retail outlets and other facilities, personnel. As you may be aware, the Nigeria’s energy supply security is underpinned by network of over thirty thousand kilometers of pipelines which we use to transport crude oil, natural gas and petroleum product. A major segment of these pipelines transverses the state and the critical national assets have become subject of incessant vandalism, theft and sabotage. The downstream segment of petroleum product supply and distribution has not faired any better. Product pipelines have also suffered huge losses with the attendant cost of repairs. For example, the Warri–Benin pipeline has almost become impossible to upgrade because when you put products from Warri refinery, almost fifty percent of these products is either stolen through tapping of the pipeline or outright vandalism. It has become difficult for us to operate these pipelines with this level of losses.”
He appealed to the Governor for help in the area of security. “Your Excellency, we need a lot of your help with your counterpart in Delta State. It is on this premise that we wish to kindly solicit your Excellency’s further support in the area of sensitizing the good people of Edo State against sabotage of the nation’s oil assets and adverse effects on the communities, environment and the economy.”
Those present during the courtesy visit are Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, the Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion OgieEsq, the Head of Service, Mrs Gladys Idahor, the Chief of Staff, Mr. Taiwo Akerele, among others.