Published On: Tue, Mar 14th, 2017

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S DIRECTIVE TO OIL AND GAS COMPANIES TO MOVE HEAD OFFICES TO THEIR OPERATIONAL AREAS

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Address: No 8A Saka Tinubu Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. No 52 Olu Obasanjo Road (c/o Ntephe Smith & Wills) Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Tel: 09066203539, Email: Ijawprofessionals@gmail.com

PUBLIC STATEMENT

The Ijaw Professionals Association (IPA) commends and congratulates the Federal Government of Nigeria on its historic directive to all oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria to expeditiously relocate their head offices to their operational areas and communities. This profound directive conveyed by the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday, 2nd March 2017 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, during his equally encouraging stakeholder consultation tours to all states in the long-neglected and distressed 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.

The presidential directive answers one of the cardinal demands of petroleum host communities over the last half century. For the 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 ramifications by military might.

Although the Federal Government’s directive, even upon complete implementation, will not be the final solution to the Niger Delta question, it will be of tremendous benefit to Nigeria and to the region due to the significant impact it will have on the region in terms of social development and economic empowerment, restoration of the crucial peaceful atmosphere for smooth oil and gas operations 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 stakeholder segments are therefore matters of critical national importance and urgency. The momentum must not only be maintained, but maximized as well.

For these reasons, it is highly incumbent on all key stakeholders and drivers to act promptly and decisively towards immediate implementation of the Federal Government’s directive. In that regard, we look primarily to the Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, in his usual energetic manner, drive an accelerated process for the relocation of all oil and gas companies to their areas of operation. This would expectedly include the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, its various subsidiaries (NAPIMS, NETCO, HYSON, IDSL, etc) and the relevant regulatory/monitoring and capacity building agencies such as the Department of Petroleum Resources, the Petroleum Technology Development Fund and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, which have all curiously remained at a dysfunctional distance far from the geographical centers of their operations and mandates.

We trust that the 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 operators that they will follow suit, moreover as they are all beneficiaries of the petroleum industry indigenization or Nigerian-local content policy and in particular recent divestments of oil mining leases and marginal fields. The peoples of the Niger Delta region and the rest of Nigeria look forward to this. Ijaw Professionals Association anticipates that the home governments of the multinational oil and gas companies (The United States of America, The United Kingdom, The Netherlands, France, Italy, Norway, the European Union, etc) will take all measures to actively encourage their corporate nationals to comply with this directive of the Government of Nigeria and to start thereby to repair some of the grave and intolerable hardships and losses they have inflicted on the peoples and communities in the region for about sixty years continuously.

We urge as a matter of urgent responsibility the Governors of affected states, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, the Niger Delta Development Commission and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to seize the moment NOW and work together and with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and the Minister of Budget and National Planning to facilitate the actualization of the directive. This should include an immediate and mutually coordinated short to medium term infrastructure and amenities plan, with clearly defined stakeholder commitments on funding and other enablers. Such a strategic facilitation plan will be of immense value towards bringing the Federal Government’s visionary directive to quick fruition. Our Governors and other key actors, including leading professional bodies and genuine stakeholder platforms, should commit themselves to this opportunity and challenge, with the target of ensuring that the relocation of all oil and gas companies is consummated within the next six to twelve months, while arrangements for perfecting their settling down continue for such further time as may be expedient. IPA commits to collaborating with these vital governmental and non-governmental institutions and mobilizing its wide membership, expertise and leverages towards the fulfillment of this potentially redefining and transformative presidential directive.

Finally, the Ijaw Professionals Association is studying with keen interest the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) that has just been released by the Federal Government in its bid to revitalize the Nigerian economy. IPA notes in particular the Federal Government’s proposal in the ERGP to sell down its stakes in the joint venture oil assets. IPA strongly appeals to the Federal Government, in its implementation of this proposal, to see and exploit the opportunity therein to quickly regain the broken trust of oil and gas producing communities and consolidate Government’s current constructive approach towards the Niger Delta region. The broad twin strategy for achieving this objective consists of

 

  • Appyling part of the proceeds of the planned divestments to fund and underwrite the critical infrastructure needs of the region as has never been done before, and
  • The immediate integration of oil producing communities into the equity ownership of oil and gas assets through both the Federal Government’s planned divestment and the recent/ongoing divestment of onshore oil and gas assets of the major, mostly multinational, oil producing companies.

 

Again, we congratulate the President and the Federal Government of Nigeria on this bold progressive and purposeful directive for oil producing companies to relocate to their operational areas, as its sincere fulfillment will be a forward leap towards the entrenchment of equity, lasting peace, national prosperity and sustainable unity.

 

DATED THIS THURSDAY, 9TH DAY OF MARCH 2017

 

MAJOR GENERAL PAUL ALAOWEI TOUN (RTD) –Chairman, Board of Trustees

INIRUO WILLS – President, Homeland Chapter (Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta States)          

ELAYE OTROFANOWEI – President, Lagos Chapter


 

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Major  Gen. Paul Alaowei  Toun Rtd  (Chairman), Capt. Prekeme Porbeni (Vice Chairman),  Miss. Patience Torlorwei , Mr. Ebilate Mac-Yoroki, Pastor. Charles Eporwei Edike, Mr. Ebibomo Timitimi. Mr. Denzil Amagbe Kentebe, Barr. Efiye Bribena.

 

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