Youths from the Niger Delta region on Sunday expressed solidarity with Dr Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum and dismissed reports that he lied about his degree class.
Pastor Tiedor Olayinka, Spokesman for coalition of Niger Delta Youth Leaders, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa that reports that Kachikwu claimed to have obtained a first class degree was false and mischievous.
The group noted that records of Kachikwu’s academic background were in public domain, even as the minister clarified in a statement at the weekend that he never claimed to hold a first class degree in law.
“Kachikwu’s profile has always been in public domain, and he is a man of impeccable character; we are therefore wondering the reason behind this mischievous report on him, which he has denied. It is worrisome that in spite of ongoing efforts by the Federal Government to contain the issue of fake news, some people circulate falsehood to the public as ‘investigative news’”.
“We condemn this malicious campaign of calumny orchestrated by those who feel threatened by Kachikwu’s career and reforms in the oil and gas sector as Minister of State for Niger Delta. He remains a shining example of the calibre of brilliant minds from the Niger Delta and we stand by him, those who are envious of his position should look at his track records at Exxonmobil where he was Vice President before he was appointed minister,” Olayinka said.
The youth urged the Federal Government to be wary of the antics of those whose pastime is to blackmail top government functionaries.
They further advised the Federal Government to intensify its war against fake news and take decisive action against those behind it.
They noted that the coming of Dr. Ibe Kachikwu as the Petroleum Minister of State had sanitised the oil sector with renewed focus by the introduction of reforms and sound policy direction that brought about efficiency in the sector.
They noted that efforts by Kachikwu in criss crossing the region’s creeks in search of peace, had restored peace to the once restive Niger Delta and paved the way for increased oil production.
“Oil facilities and gas pipelines were attacked and production levels were disrupted while our output targets dropped sharply then. The concerted efforts Kachikwu put up during those dark days, meeting key relevant stakeholders at the creeks of the Niger Delta, eventually paved the way for the then Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to tour the Niger Delta,” Olayinka said.
He said that Kachikwu’s performance and pedigree were inspiration to the younger generation and deserved commendation from Nigerians.