Judex Okoro, Calabar
As part of celebrations to mark this year’s International Youth Day, Total Exploration and Production has commenced a two-week youth camp in Calabar to curb youth restiveness and its associated vices within the region.
International Youth Day was adopted by the United Nations to celebrate youths around the world and also draw attention to the issues of their development.
To mark the 2019 event, a two-week bootcamp training has been organised in Calabar for over 70 youths, drawn from the six Niger Delta states.
The programme, tagged “Youths Konnect for Peace Network,” is courtesy of one of the oil majors in the downstream sector of the country, Total Exploration and Production, aimed at empowering the youths with various skills in modern business and entrepreneurship.
Speaking in Calabar while declaring the camp open, the managing director of Total E&P, Port Harcourt district, Guillaume Dulout, said the programme was the third in the series and a further demonstration of the premium that the company attached to the importance of youths in the development of society.
He said: “The camp is structured to inspire, educate and enlighten the deserving youths to take their destinies into their own hands and truly become the leaders of tomorrow.
“Therefore, it is high time the youths sayid no all forms of social vices such as drug abuse, cultism, kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, etc, which are presently undermining the foundations of the society.
“The camp will provide you exposure and opportunities in key areas of training such as IT and resources, entrepreneurship development, career goals development, physical/health education, leadership, photography and other soft skills.
“We remain hopeful that you will join forces with your predecessors to build a network for sustainable peace for your immediate communities in particular and the Niger Delta in general.”
Dulout disclosed that statistics from the United Nations indicated that youths constituted 1.8 billion of global population, with 87 per cent residing in developing countries, hence the need for this “critical mass to be harnessed as a force for positive social integration and change.”
Explaining the need to reverse the ugly trend in the Niger Delta, the community relations manager, offshore/Port Harcourt communities, Okechukwu Obara, said Total E&P believed there was something they could do to direct youths aright, which underscored the need to reach out to youths, to help discourage them from vices.
“It is true that when you train a child well, he can attain heights. This is critical for the Niger Delta region because the decayed youth situation saw youths leaving what they should be doing but engaging in social vices and also jettisoning hard work.
“The basis of this training for the youths in the region is to reverse the ugly trend we have experienced in the Niger Delta. If we can reach the youths at this young age, then we can direct them aright.
“Kidnapping and other vices are not a sustainable means of livelihood and we believe that there is something that we can do to discourage young people from being lured into kidnapping, oil bunkering and other negative vices.
“Once you are trained, you become more conscious of the things that can discourage you from indulging in any negative vices. Therefore, we commend the management and we shall all offer the necessary support to make it a success”, he said.
On his part, the manager, communications, Princewill Obah, advised the youth to put all they had learnt into practice to become useful members of society.
Casmir Adira, one of the trainees, said: “The training is quite interesting. We have learnt quite a lot and I hope it will help reduce the incidence of crime in the country.
“The programme will improve my life and I promise not to be part of those who commit crime in the country but help in my own little way in curbing crime.”
Also, Ade Maureen said: “So far, the programme has been wonderful and entertaining and I have learnt new things, skills, and how to make a lot of things that can help me improve my life, apart from academics.
“I am promising Total E & P that I will be a good ambassador of peace and I will stand against any social vice that crops up in the society,” she said.
Nnadi Manesa Sunday, on her part, said, “From the past few days, I have learnt a lot and have acquired a lot of new ideas that can help in curbing social vices in the society. I hope to be a good ambassador for the region and also educate the younger ones on how to address problems.”