01 April 2013, Port Harcourt – Niger Delta youths, under the aegis of the Niger Delta Youth Parliament, NDYP, have rejected the proposed death penalty by the Senate President, Senator David Mark, for those involved in illegal bunkering.
The youths described the suggestion by Mark as unfortunate and a mark of insensitivity to the plight of youths in the oil- rich region.
National Coordinator, NDYP, Mr. Imoh Okoko, regretted that rather than make laws that would encourage the provision of employment opportunities for youths, the Senate President suggested death penalty for the people of the regio
Okoko, who explained that the people of Niger Delta had been facing environmental degradation and acute lack of infrastructure, noted that death sentence would worsen the peple’s plight and would amount to an attempt to wipe out some of the youths in the area.
He urged the National Assembly to look into the root cause of oil bunkering and tackle it, advising that only an effective youth employment programme would stop oil bunkering in the area, and not threat of death sentence.
Okoko said, “Why would Mark make such a suggestion? From his utterances, the Senate President and most members of the National Assembly are not interested in the oil spills and other form of environmental degradation affecting the people of Niger Delta.
“It is insensitive of anybody to prescribe death penalty for those involved in oil bunkering. The best step the National Assembly would have taken is to make a law that would ensure that youths in the Niger Delta region are employed.
“With gainful employment, no youth in the Niger Delta will have the time for oil bunkering. It is an irony that while some people are suggesting amnesty for Boko Haram members, our Senate President is prescribing death sentence for oil bunkerers.”
He, however, expressed regret that while members of the National Assembly earn jumbo salaries from Niger Delta resources, they could still think of seeking death for the suffering youths of the area.
Okoko urged members of the National Assembly to move a motion for their salaries to be slashed in order to pave the way for Nigerian youths to earn a living.