Concerned stakeholders in the oil and gas industry alongside Ijaw Professionals Association (IPA) has lauded the directive by the federal to oil and gas companies to expeditiously relocate their head offices to their operational areas has being.
They said that this profound directive convey by the acting president Yemi Osinbajo in February during his encouraging stakeholders consultation tours to all states in the long neglected and distress Niger Delta region is the strongest signal in many years that the federal government may sincerely begin to address the age –old challenges of the region from the roots rather than the usual cosmetic approach of trying to dust off the symptoms on the surface.
IPA in a newspaper advertorial jointly signed by Paul Alaowei Toun, chairman, board of trustee; Iniruo Wills, president, Homeland chapter (Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta States and Elaye Otrofanowei, president, Lagos Chapter, observed that the presidential directive answers one of the cardinal demands of petroleum host communities over the last half century.
They noted that for oil producing and heavily oil polluted communities and states in the Niger Delta, this might be the most authentic evidence of the Nigerian-local content policy that was recently enacted into law but is yet to be of much practical value to our peoples’ lives and local economies in the region. Hopefully, it would also mark a departure from the mutually counter- productive tactics of seeking to suppress agitation and its regrettable ramification by military might.
According to them, “Federal government directive, even upon complete implementation will not be the full and final solution to the Niger Delta questions, it will be of tremendous benefit to Nigeria and to the region by the significant impact it will have on the region in terms of social development and economic empowerment”
They are equally optimistic that it would further bring the desired restoration of the critical peaceful atmosphere for smooth oil and gas operation and the consequent sustainability of the substantial national revenues flowing from the region and its coastal treasures.
“The speed and commitment with which the directive will be implemented and facilitated by all stakeholders segments are therefore matters of critical national importance and urgency, saying that the momentum must not only be maintained, but maximised as well”.
The professional body noted that industry operators especially but not restricted to the multinational oil companies will cooperate fully and swiftly on this declared thrust of the government of Nigeria.
“It is also our minimum expectation from the indigenous operator that they will follow suit, moreover as they are all beneficiaries of the petroleum industry indigenisation or Nigerian Local content policy and in particular recent divestment of oil mining leases and marginal fields”.
They anticipates that the home government of the multinational oil and gas companies will take all measure to actively encourage their corporate nationals to comply with directive of government of Nigeria and to start thereby to repair some of the grave and intolerable hardship and losses they have inflicted on the peoples and communities in the region for about sixty years continuously.
The association congratulated the president and the federal government of Nigeria on the bold, progressive and purposeful directive for oil producing companies to relocate to their operational areas, as its sincere fulfilment will be a forward leap towards the entrenchment of equity, lasting peace, national prosperity and sustainable unity.