Niger’Delta youths caution FG, National Assembly against non-implementation of FUPRE Act in 2018 budget
Youths of the Niger Delta region have cautioned the Federal Government and the National Assembly against failure to implement the Act establishing the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE), Delta State and release funds to it in the 2018 budget.
They commended President Muhammad Buhari for signing the Act into law, stressing that the university, established by government to boost local content in the oil and gas sector of the Nigerian economy, plays a pivotal role in that sector.
President of the Niger Delta Youths Coalition (NDYC), Comrade Stephen Ohwokirerhuo, said: “As major stakeholders in the progress and development of the country, our founding fathers established FUPRE to train local manpower for the oil and gas sector.”
Implementing the Act, he explained, was crucial to developing the needed high-level manpower for the oil and gas sector taking into account indigenous culture and the need to enhance national unity.
“It will uphold Federal Government’s developmental strides and efforts in the Niger Delta Region and would assure the region that government will intensify efforts and partner with the Niger Delta towards the equitable spread and allocation of resources.
“It will also assure the region that continuous effort is being made by government towards ameliorating the deplorable, devastated and environmentally degraded region through oil spills that adversely affect the health and other natural resources such as lands and water resources.
“We are, therefore, glad and grateful to the Federal Government for the timely accent to the Establishment Bill resulting in the FUPRE Act and another crucial Act Establishing the Northeast Development Commission,” the group said.
It, however, lamented that the Federal Government has not been fair, judicious and prudent in its actions, especially with regard to funding the institution.
The group further stated that while most federal universities have been given their takeoff grants of over N5 billion each, FUPRE has not received its grant, insisting that the development was worrisome, especially for such a specialised university that is meant to train highly skilled manpower for the oil and gas sector.
Ohwokirerhuo added that the Northeast Development Commission Act was signed barely a week after FUPRE’s but its implementation was already captured in the 2018 Budget to the tune of N45 billion.He regretted that the implementation of the FUPRE Act was yet to receive any funding and has not been captured anywhere, a situation he noted, was sending the wrong signal of bias in favour of the North over the Niger Delta.
“It is also worthy to note that the Federal Government had earmarked $1billion in the fight against Boko Haram terrorism but it has not felt the need to pacify the Niger Delta region by the implementation of the FUPRE Act.
“The university is located in the region from which the $1 billion for the Boko Haram project will be derived. It is no wonder that the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) lamented such humungous neglect that will ultimately lead to the destabilising the region in which it called for the speedy implementation of FUPRE Act,” it stated.
The group, therefore, aligned with PANDEF in appealing to the Federal Government to urgently implement the Act establishing FUPRE and release the needed funds, as it would go a long way to pacify the Niger Delta people and prove that the Federal Government has not neglected the region.
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