A pressure group, Movement for Just Utilization of Resources in the South East (M-JURSE), has urged the Federal Government to grant oil pipeline protection contracts to youths of host communities.
National Coordinator, Mr Stanley Okafor in a statement, said the move would stem the tide of vandalization and oil theft in the region.
He said such collaboration with the youth would also improve both local production and exports, boost revenue accruing to the federation account and the country’s economy.
The statement reads, “It has become imperative to voice the need for the federal government to look more inward and into means of integrating the Southeast in main stream national life.
“This could be done by co-opting its youths as partners in the sourcing and protection of resources found in the region, including Infrastructure neccesary for oil exploration production and conveyance.
“The youths are willing and capable of protecting oil infrastructure in the region, and granting the license to these youths will be a workable way to check youth restiveness.
Okafor also urged the government to conduct environmental impact assessment in Enugu where coal was exploited years ago when the commodity served as one of the greatest exports of the country.
According to him, water cannot be drilled in the Enugu as the entire area is hollow underneath.
“We therefore, hope that the government would show sincere interest in assessing the impact of these years of exploitation on the environment and adequately compensate the region, “he said.
Also speaking, Mr Innocent Nduanya, Deputy President, National Youths Council of Nigeria said gold deposits and other precious stones in the Southeast should be exploited with greater coordination and purpose.
He said, “We have abundant geological deposits in Ebonyi, Enugu, Anambra Imo and Abia states, and we want the federal government to exploit these resources with youths of the region as partners in progress.
“We need the youths to be engaged so that they can become national vanguards, and that way, peace and national identity can begin to be restored.
“We will reach out to necessary organs of the federal government to press home these demands in a responsible manner.”