Hundreds of protesters on Monday besieged and shut down activities at the headquarters of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, over non- implementation of trainings for youths of the oil and gas communities.
The angry youths had at about noon hour of the day stormed and occupied the road and gate leading to the building, preventing workers and visitors from going in and out of the premises.
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions such as “We will embark on our training as agreed today, The injustice melted on oil and gas host communities must end, enough is enough, 1,000 youths must be trained”.
That the training of the 1,000 youths from over 850 communities in the state received approval since 2019 but the leadership of the board remained adamant to implement the trainings till date.
The youths erected canopies on the road, disrupting vehicular movement and demanded to see top officials of the board or they rather sleep at the gate pending the resolution of their demands and grievances.
Addressing newsmen, the Sagbama Local Government coordinator, Host Communities of Nigeria producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM), Safa Praise Perekebina, who represented the state chairman, said the board had a deal with us in 2019 to train 1000 Bayelsans from the oil and gas communities but till this moment nothing has been done.
“In 2019, they claimed lack of funds for the training, then we reached an agreement through the involvement of the National Assembly and it was approved that they should train our youths, later due to COVID-19 we had to put it on hold after a zoom meeting with the leadership of the board”
“They later came with the tricks that we had splinter groups but later it was trashed after series of investigations by different security agencies for over three months, and at the end we were vindicated.
“In 2020, we protested over the delay tactics deployed and they agreed but didn’t do anything. In 2021, they came with a portal form to all the youths involved, after the board took hundred slots from the 1,000. Even at that they claimed that those above forty years won’t be allowed to benefit and we accepted and added only younger youths, and later they came with policies that the beneficiaries must have functional Emails and we ensured we open that for them to meet up all their demands, but still nothing.
When contacted for reaction on the claims by HOSTCOM, the media officer of (NCDMB), Mr. Obinna Ezeobi, said the board will respond to their claims officially as they are standing outside.