UN, NGO search for peace in oil communities
By Anayo Okoli
UMUAHIA—IN an effort to curb mlitancy in the nation’s oil producing communities, the United Nations has initiated a capacity-building programme aimed at equipping people of oil bearing communities, particularly the youths, with skills to be involved in sustainable development of their communities.
The programme is being anchored by an NGO, Afrihealth Optonet Association. Already, the NGO in collaboration with United Natuins has organized a training workshop for 23 persons who in turn train other people in the communities. The NGO said the same training would be replicated in all the Niger Delta oil bearing communities.
The programme is funded by the United Nations Development Fund.
According to the National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer of Afrihealth, Dr. Uzodinma Adirieje the objective of the programme is to eradicate youth restiveness in the oil bearing communities by involving the community in the development of their areas.
Dr. Adirieje said the training workshops in he States “to train persons on how to engage communities where the association would be involved in project execution in the region”, adding that the trained personnel “would help to advance the concept of sustainable community participation in governance, development and community life”.
According to him, the trained personnel would help to sensitise the communities on their civic responsibilities and how to hold their leaders accountable to the people.
To take it’s programme down to the grassroots, Adirieje explained that six persons would be elected by the people to form the “Community Consultative Committee, CCC, which would interface regularly with the association, local and state governments as well as prominent people from within and outside their communities on how to mobilize resources to fund community projects”.
He further explained that town hall meetings would be organized to provide for a forum where the people would identify and articulate their needs, in terms of social amenities and infrastructure, among others.
According to him, the UN-sponsored training programme would help to achieve peace and stability in the region by ensuring sustainable develop-ment.
The Abia State Co-coordinator of Afrihealth, Mr. Richard Okoro, said that the organization was determined to achieve infrastructure development and democracy at the grass roots through strategic engagement of the people.