Vice-Chancellor of Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Prof. Blessing Didia, has asked Niger Delta youths to stop breaking pipelines of oil companies, and acquire skills to become entrepreneurs.
He spoke yesterday at the skills’ acquisition sensitisation workshop for youths from Rivers State host communities of Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (TEPNG).
The workshop was organised by the Capacity Development Department of Community Affairs and Development Division of Total.
The well-attended event, with many resource persons, took place at the Vice-Chancellor’s Conference Hall of the university
With its theme: “Maximising skill acquisition opportunities; skill acquisition, a pathway to success,” beneficiaries will be trained in computer, pipeline welding, plumbing, catering and hair styling, among others, between six months and one year.
Two of last year’s trainees: Grace Fubara and Christian Ejiogu, both undergraduates of the university, said their participation made them financially independent.
The vice-chancellor said: “For a very long time, we in the Niger Delta region have been told that our fate and promises are in the pipeline. The people, especially the youths, have been breaking and damaging the pipelines to find the promised things in the pipelines, but they have not seen anything.
“Therefore, it is time for us to stop breaking the pipelines and desist from attacking other facilities of oil companies.”
Didia noted that the future of Nigeria lies in agriculture, and urged Total to continue with the initiative and remember the university in its activities, programmes and projects.
He hailed the oil firm for its contributions to youth empowerment.
Total’s Deputy General Manager, Community Affairs and Development Division, Port Harcourt District, Mr. James Urho, described the workshop as the initial orientation programme, aimed at informing and enlightening the trainees on the importance of the scheme.