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N’Delta crisis: Community commends NGO’s reformist programme

Posted by thetidenews on 2006/07/18 | Views: 616 |

N’Delta crisis: Community commends NGO’s reformist programme

In continuation of their tour of the Niger Delta region to sensitize the people on the need for peaceful approach to issues...

In continuation of their tour of the Niger Delta region to sensitize the people on the need for peaceful approach to issues, officials of the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria (FEHN), a Non-Governmental Organisation, last Sunday visited Afam community in Oyigbo local government area of Rivers State.

Receiving the FEHN delegation in his palace, Chief Nna Onyekwu commended the foundation for embarking on the tour, especially the training of youths on peaceful approach to their rights from corporate organizations.

The ruler, who was flanked by other chiefs, expressed joy that a notorious militant youth in the area had benefited from FEHN’s reformist programme both in Nigeria and overseas, and pleaded that more indigenes benefit from the scheme.

“My seeing one of our sons who used to be violent in your midst preaching the gospel of peace has convinced me that your foundation is serious in what it is doing. What we are now pleading with you is that more of our youths should benefit from the training because it will help restore peace in the community,” the chief said.

The royal father was not happy that the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) was yet to contribute meaningfully to the development of the community since it started oil exploration in the area more than 40 years ago, which he said was largely responsible for the face-off between the company and the community since 1999.

Although, Chief Onyekwu hinted that the community had given the company green light to resume operation in the area, he pleaded that SPDC should improve on its social responsibilities.

Earlier in his speech, the leader of FEHN delegation, Allen Onyema insisted that communities should resort to dialogue rather than violence in their agitations.

Onyema who also addressed youth leaders of Oyigbo assured that they would be trained by FEHN, even as he pleaded that those to benefit from the programme to practicalise the knowledge they would acquire.

Also speaking, a youth leader, Friday Onyeukwu attributed the crisis in the area to lack of focused leaders.

, stressing that, “if we had had people who educated us on the need to be peaceful in our demands like FEHN, we would not have experienced the crisis of 1999 which led to the loss of lives.”

Onyeukwu who described the FEHN initiative as a new dawn, appealed to SPDC to offer university scholarships and employment opportunities to the indigenes of Oyigbo.

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