By Sam Esogwa
The age-long battle to save the Niger Delta environment has now gone beyond mere rhetoric to take an entirely different dimension.
This is because a move to mobilize, sensitize and unleash no less than one million youth volunteers to champion the all important battle has begun.
As a matter of fact, the vision was launched on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at Grand Monticito Hotel, plot 303 Abacha Road, GRA Phase II, Port Harcourt. It was to commemorate this year’s International Human Rights Day.
In her keynote address, Prof. Julie Umokoro of the department of Theatre Arts, University of Port Harcourt, noted that environment is very important in the life of human beings and therefore deserves to be protected by everybody for continued sustenance of life.
Prof Umokoro, who is also the President, United States Government Exchange Programme Alumni Association, Rivers State Chapter, commended the organizer of the programme for his vision.
In his goodwill message, former vice chancellor of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), now Rivers State University, Prof. Barineme B. Fakae, harped on the importance of environment to the society and the need for the youths to safeguard it.
He lauded the effort of the initiator of the programme and his plan to mobilize one million youths to work as volunteers in the quest to save the environment from destruction.
Speaking with Business Day shortly after the programme, the organizer of the programme and Executive Director of Youth Environmental Advocacy Centre, Fyneface Dumnamene, said his reason for mobilizing one million youths was for them to help campaign and defend human rights in the Niger Delta.
Dumnamene explained further: “We’re motivated to do this because the human rights space in Nigeria is shrinking. In the Niger Delta where oil mining has been on since the 1950s, the rights of the people are being violated, molested and abused in the process of carrying out their activities.
“We believe if we have this number of people working with us to drive this campaign, this issue will be addressed. These people will also work with us to demand accountability from our leaders in the Niger Delta, monitoring the projects they’re carrying out and ensuring that institutional corruption is reduced.”
He promised that his group would also work with anti-corruption agencies such as the EFCC and ICPC to ensure that issues of corruption are tackled.