Nigeria will train about 10.000 youths each year from the Niger Delta region in a bid to stop them from attacking oil pipelines.
The government plans to build nine vocational centres to facilitate the training.
“The establishments we are putting in place to give skills to the people are in the vocations of small artisanal skill processing and manufacturing in different vocations in different centres. For instance, commerce that should train people on electronic commerce, which enhances their knowledge in ICT, making of you know… leather products, different vocations of that nature. We only hope that when this is finished people will be ready to engage themselves profitably in self-employment but we are working to see how we can finish and equip those centres,“Usani Uguru, Niger Delta Minister said.
Residents of the Niger Delta, home to Nigeria’s oil and gas wealth have been complaining that oil spills and gas flares pollute farmland and kill fish in the creeks.
The leaks are sometimes caused by illegal pipeline tapping and sabotage.
Efforts to boost security in the Niger Delta are slowed by the swampy terrain which makes it difficult for the pipelines to be crowded.
“You know the nature of the oil facilities being attacked is a type of flow system and so the terrain on which these flow channels or facilities run through is again challenging, so it may not always be absolutely attack-proof in terms of having to monitor all through, but I know that the best is being done so far. Effective action is being taken,” the minister for the Niger Delta said.
After his election in 2015, president Buhari promised to end Nigeria’s dependency on oil by promoting investment for sectors as farming and infrastructure.
A reduction in oil prices is pushing Buhari to seek loans from the World Bank and international capital markets.
Nigeria has also extended the 2009 amnesty, brought in by his predecessor, under which some 30,000 former militants were to be retrained.
Critics say the funds had been disappearing and ending up as cash benefits.
Authorities have also said the government is planning to build roads and hospitals in the Delta.
The effectiveness of the projects remains unclear due to uncertainty over the budget.