Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) on Monday, December 16, 2019 trained some artisanal crude oil refiners in Rivers State on alternative means of livelihood to disabuse their minds from artisanal refining that contributes to environmental pollution and black soot in the state. The training is also aimed at achieving environmental sustainability in the Niger Delta with this training coming barely two months after the similar training was organized for crude oil refiners in Bayelsa State with those from Delta State also in attendance. The program which was organized in partnership with Society for Women and Youths Affairs (SWAYA) and funding support from Development and Peace, Canada is the key components of a project “YOUTHS TRAINING ON CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND ALTERNATIVE LIVELIHOOD THROUGH MODULAR REFINERIES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY IN THE NIGER DELTA”.

The activity-packed training program which saw crude oil refiners and traders including women from communities in different parts of the State numbering over 75 as well as members of civil society organizations in attendance had Mr. Emmanuel Ndukwe, an On Air Personality of popular Port Harcourt Radio Station, TODAY, 95.1FM as the moderator.  (Mr. Emmanuel Ndukwe)

Declaring the event open, the Executive Director, Society for Women and Youths Affairs (SWAYA), Mrs. Stella Amanie drew the attention of the ex-Artisanal crude oil refiners to their activities that have contributed to the degradation of the environment and livelihoods in the Niger Delta. She charged them to prepare themselves to venture into sources of energy especially the renewable energy that can guarantee environmental sustainability. Finally, she told the participants that she has no doubt that at the end of the training, they will be empowered with knowledge that will enable them make an informed decision for environmental sustainability and declared the training opened.

(Mr. Stella Amanie, Executive Director, SWAYA)

Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre, Comrade Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface stated that “the interest of Development and Peace and objective of this training is to train youths who are involved in oil theft and artisanal refining as well as those who are employed or earn their living through the value chain on alternative means of livelihoods so that they can stay away from hydrocarbon that contribute to environmental pollution to enable the Niger Delta people achieve environmental sustainability such that the livelihoods of fishermen, woman and farmers can thrive again”. He further said “in looking for the alternative means of livelihoods for the artisanal refiners and those in the value chain, the modular refineries promised youths in the Niger Delta by the Federal Government through the then Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in February 2017 during his tour of communities in the Niger Delta became top on the list of choice. Hence, our decision to train the youths on guidelines for the establishment of modular refineries to prepare Niger Delta youths for the Modular refineries promised them by the Federal Government and which Niger Delta youths are still waiting for its fulfillment so that they can stop the acts that they are currently involved in”.

(Fyneface Dumnamene, Executive Director, Advocacy Centre)

The YEAC director traced the history of the training from Warri, Delta State on April 14, 2017 to Rivers State by Advocacy Centre on November 28, 2017 to Port Harcourt on March 29 2018 to Bayelsa on October 7 2019 and now in Rivers State on December 16, 2019 with the support of Development and Peace. He said this training would be the last in the series as attention would now be focused on the formation of co-operative for those who have learnt about guidelines for the establishment of modular refinery to focus there as Development and Peace wants attention to be shifted from hydrocarbon to renewable energy. In conclusion, the Executive Director of Advocacy Centre said “In addition to the training on guidelines for the establishment of modular refineries by Kanee Bariture Rogers of the Rivers State University who was also the Special Assistant to the immediate past Rivers State Commissioner for Environment, Prof. Roseline Konya and Josephine Okomadu of the Department of Plant Science and Biotechnology, University of Port Harcourt here today and in Bayelsa on October 7, 2019, we have added and are introducing two other alternative means of livelihoods on renewable energy and film making. They are BIOFIL TOILET DIGESTER TECHNOLOGY SYSTEM and CINEMATIC VIDEO PRODUCTION as other alternative means of livelihoods. So, we now have modular refinery, rice farming, fish farming, cinematography (skills acquisition and investment) and renewable energy including biofil toilet digester technology system as alternative means of livelihoods presented to youths involved in artisanal refining in the Niger Delta”.(Training Consultant on Cinematic Video Production, Mr. Stanley Charles Isong)(Training Consultant on Biofil Toilet Digester Technology System, Mr. Barisua Ekeke)

(A female participant, Kelechi Uzoma making contribution at the event)

A Delta State delegation led Mr. Clever Donokumor shared experiences with the participants on how far they have gone with the process of establishing their modular refinery including site clearing, partnership, statutory requirements, investors contacts, site inspection, etc. following knowledge gained from our previous training in Delta State. Mr. Clever told the participants that the experience so far, not on a platter of gold, is journey worth embarking upon and encouraged the crude oil refiners in Rivers State to be determined and courageous to get to their destination without necessarily waiting for government support that may not be forthcoming. Adding that what is fundamental to the success of such project which they have discovered is community buy-in and ownership.(Mr. Clever from Delta State granting press interview)

Below are some links to media publication about the program. To watch video of the program as aired on Africa Independent Telesvion nationwide, click here 

To watch the news report as aired on Quest Television, follow this link

To watch the news report about the program as aired on Access 24, click here

Other links to newspaper reports are;

(Cross Section of participants at the training in group photograph)

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