Shell Petroleum engages 120 youths in dialogue

Port Harcourt, March 2, 2017 (TNE): The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) is enlisting the services of the youth in host communities aimed at curtailing attacks on oil and gas facilities.

Mr Sam Ezugwuorie, the Asset Manager, Land East Hub, made this known in Port Harcourt at a meeting organised for 120 youths drawn from the host communities.

He said that SPDC was disturbed by activities of some youths vandalising its pipelines and wellheads, resulting in oil spillage and destruction of the environment.

”The summit aims to enlighten our youths to embrace positive environmental management culture, attitude and lifestyle because the environment is our primary area of habitat.

”This summit is focused on building and sustaining relationship with our youths as well as empowering them with the virtues of hard work for the overall benefit of their families, communities, state and the nation.

”SPDC as a responsible company, is poised to partner with its host communities in a collaborative manner for preservation of our environment which is more important to the company than revenue.

”’The intent is that this summit would grow and then youths of our host communities would become ambassadors who will in turn, enlighten other youths in the protection and preservation of the environment,” he said.

Ezugwuorie said that the participants were drawn from its communities and student union executives of five tertiary institutions across the company’s Land Eastern Operation.

He said youths as future leaders, must work with SPDC to ensure that oil and gas facilities were protected at all cost to avoid further degradation of the environment.

Also speaking, Mr Amadi Collins, SPDC’s Manager, Production Unit, Imo River, said the company had lost huge revenue due to acts of vandalism on pipelines and wellheads in the area.

He said in spite of several enlightenment programmes organised by the company to expose youths to dangers associated with such attacks, some had remained deviant.

”More worrisome is the fact that some communities have turned our facilities to refuse dump and faeces sites.

”These prevent the facilities from performing optimally, thus leading to loss in revenue,” he said.

One of the participants, Confidence Atuegbu, observed that the destruction of some oil and gas facilities by some Niger Delta youths had partly contributed to the current recession in the country.

Atuegbu, who is a student union leader in the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, called on youths to have a change of heart.

“We must have a rethink on pipeline burst and illegal bunkering and refinery which have endangered our environment and exposed us to serious health risk,” he said.

Also speaking, Miss Oroma Ereh, an indigene of Aluu community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers, attributed acts of vandalism to high rate of unemployment in communities which host oil and gas companies.

According to her, the destruction will drastically reduced when youths in the area are gainfully engaged by those doing business in their various communities.

Ereh called for the expansion of the programme to enable more youths to participate and be exposed to activities aimed at protecting the environment. (TNE)

NN/BP

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