SANWO-OLU HARPS ON YOUTH ENGAGEMENT AS FULCRUM FOR PEACE IN EXTRACTIVE OPERATIONS

Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwu-Olu has promised ensure the inclusion of indigene youths in the employment plan of the Lagos State, just as he implored companies operating within communities to facilitate empowerment programmes for skilled and unskilled youths in communities hosting them.

The Governor, who made the assertion at the 2020 Badagry Youth Oil and Gas Conference, said that “In Lagos State, we are convinced that Youth Engagement remains the fulcrum for peace in the extractive operations and that is why we agreed to host this very important conference so that, together with the youths, we can develop unique Community Engagement Standards (CES) as a key component of inclusive governance”.

Sanwo-Olu, represented at the Conference by the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olalere Odusote, observed that, while the petroleum sector has contributed to the economy of Nigeria and by extension the State, through employment, industrialisation and enhancement of the living conditions of residents, there have been cases of tension between the youths and companies existing within their communities because of the lack of mutual understanding on the standards of engagement and absence of a platform for engagement.

He said the present administration is ready to work with the youths and other stakeholders to make the petroleum sector more sustainable by implementing a step-by-step, follow-through process of establishing clear grievance structures, constructive dialogue and responsible handover practices which will consequently result in youths from oil communities benefiting directly from exploration.

While emphasising the need to work in harmony and promote better understanding between the youths and other stakeholders, the Governor, who promised a more proactive approach to the development of Badagry and its environs, said the expected attendant improvement in infrastructure development, will attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the State.

During a question and answer session, the Commissioner for Energy and Petroleum Resources, Mr. Olalere Odusote, who doubled as the Chief host, said that the State Government will not relent in its continued efforts to ensure that adequate oversight is provided in the process and manner in which communities provide consent and participate in community development agreements.

According to him, “We have put in place the necessary mechanism to ensure adequate investments in regular and marginal oil blocks as a means of diversifying the State Investment portfolio for the overall benefit of the youths. We are going to do everything that we have promised so that Badagry will benefit from being a host community”.

He also assured the youths of Badagry that the State government would complete the Mile 2 – Okoko section of the expressway in the next two years, promising to take the issue of multiple checkpoints along Agbara – Seme expressway to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for necessary action.

 “We will continue to deliver our promise to Badagry people and will develop the infrastructure that the Government has promised, however, we expect the people to take advantage of the State’s skill acquisition programmes to improve themselves and contribute to the economy”, he said.

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