IYC condemns House of Reps’ rejection of motion to relocate IOCs headquarters to Niger Delta
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has lampooned the leadership of the Nigerian House of Representatives over its rejection of a motion aimed at implementing the relocation of the Administrative Headquarters of the Multinational Oil and Gas firms in the country to their operational base in the Niger Delta.
The condemnation is contained in a statement by the IYC’s Spokesman, Daniel Dasimaka, which decries the alleged insensitivity of the lawmakers. The statement reads: “First, we want it to be on the record that the entire action of the House does not have any legally binding effect and amounts to an exercise in futility. Nonetheless, We the National Executive of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide and indeed the entire Ijaw nation and Niger Delta are deeply saddened by the callousness of the House of Representatives to the plight of the Niger Delta as amply demonstrated on May 2, 2017, by their rejection of the motion sponsored by Hon. Goodluck Opiah praying the House to direct the Multinational Oil and Gas Companies to relocate their administrative head offices to the Niger Delta Region.
“We strongly believe that this action of the green Chamber has the potential of derailing the seeming calm in the Niger Delta Region that has resulted from positive steps like the Presidential directive made earlier this year by the then Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, mandating all International Oil Companies (IOCs) to relocate their administrative Headquarters to their host communities in Niger Delta.
“It is a known fact that the continuous siting of the administrative headquarters of the IOCs outside their areas of operations has contributed to their adoption of policies and taking of decisions that are in the main inconsiderate of the externalities of Oil and Gas Exploration and exploitation in the Niger Delta such as pollution, environmental hazards and degradation leading to the dislocation of our local economy.
“We therefore condemn the myopia of the antagonists of Hon Opiah’s motion entitled ‘Calling Oil Companies to Establish Operational and Administrative Offices in the Niger Delta Area where they Engage in Exploration and Exploitation’.
“We categorically and unequivocally condemn the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara’s unfortunate comments that “as a businessman, I cannot be forced to site my business where I know it’s not safe.” If the region is not safe for the IOCs to site their administrative headquarters as the Speaker has insinuated, how come it has been sa for them to carry out their main business of oil exploration and exploitation for close to 60 years?
“We believe that it is this sort of shortsightedness that has needlessly delayed the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and retarded the viability of Seaports outside Lagos, thereby denying this country huge new investments, revenues and employment opportunities. The earlier all Nigerians come to the realization thathe Niger Delta Crisis is a National and indeed Global problem and act accordingly, the better for us all.
“Furthermore, we want to commend the courage of the lawmakers from the South-South, South-East and few of their North-East and North-West counterparts who walked out of the green chamber on that fateful day to register their repudiation of this great injustice.
“We also find it disturbing that since the Acting President voluntarily made this commitment on behalf of the federal government, he has failed to match his words with adequate action to fulfill it. We, the Ijaw Youths, are therefore tempted to construe his statements as mere political declarations aimed at currying plauditand nothing more; and are thus working towards self-implementation of the relocation of the IOCs.”
It would be recalled that in March 2017, Nigeria’s acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, directed the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, “to engage” with International Oil Companies “on the way forward” over repeated calls for the relocation of their head offices to the states where they produce oil from. Yet up to this day, nothing seems to have been done to make this a reality.