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Bayelsa community youths demand jobs ahead oil production start-up

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By Kenechukwu Obiajuru, Yenagoa

Youths from Koluama in Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa state have expressed hope that the anticipated upsurge in project activities on the development of Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 83 and 85 would create job opportunities for them.

The youths said they hinged their optimism on the youths among them with specialised oil and gas vocational skills.

A Nigerian firm was said to have struck oil from an oilfield it acquired following the divestment of Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) from the asset located off Bayelsa coastline.

Chevron had, in 2015, divested from OMLs 83 and 85 while the indigenous firm acquired the oilfields in a Joint Venture agreement with the Nigerian Petroleum Corporation.

Mr Leghemo Ebrasin, a youth leader in Koluama coastal settlement said in an interview with Orient Daily on Monday, that the feat by the Nigerian operator indicated that the Nigerian content policy was yielding results.

According to him, the achievement justified the confidence reposed by the government on Nigerian oil firms. He said that the youths from neighbouring communities were poised to support the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the oil firm and its host communities in 2018.

He said the youths had formed a cooperative society to drive youth empowerment schemes as well as developed a database of unemployed youths to enable matching of skills and job opportunities.

On the proposed 23-kilometre undersea pipeline, he urged the oil firm and its contractors to consider palliatives for local fishermen who would be displaced in the course of execution of the project.

“We welcome the ongoing efforts to get a pipeline licence from the ministry of petroleum resources. Although we are going to be affected by the project, we expect them to offer alternative income opportunities to us.

“The members of the fishing vocation would definitely be affected when the laying of the undersea pipeline starts.”

“The successful development of these two oil blocks will unlock the economic potentials in Bayelsa coastline settlements and hopefully attract development of social amenities as well.

“Our Rural Development Foundation is well-positioned to harness the opportunities that will be coming to us under the operational areas employment quota and funds for community development projects,” Ebrasin said.                                     

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