Posted by News Express | 15 March 2017 | 1,540 times
Ijaw Professionals Association (IPA) on Tuesday called for the implementation of Federal Government’s directive to International Oil Companies (IOCs) to relocate to the Niger Delta.
IPA made the call in a statement signed by Maj-Gen Paul Toun (Rtd.), Chairman Board of Trustees, Mr Iniruo Wills, Homeland Chapter President, and Mr Elaye Otrofanowei, President Lagos chapter.
In the statement made available in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State, IPA described the directive to IOCs to expeditiously relocate their head offices to their operational areas as historic.
IPA said: “This directive conveyed by (Vice President) Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, March 2 2017 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, during his equally encouraging stakeholder consultation tours to all states in the long-neglected and distressed Niger Delta region is very commendable.
“It 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.
“It 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.”
The group noted that speed and commitment was of essence by all stakeholder segments in implementing the policy direction adding that the momentum must not only be maintained, but maximised as well.
IPA urged the 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.
The group also stated that the relocation directive is expected to include the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, its various subsidiaries and the relevant regulatory and capacity building agencies.
IPA stated that such agencies include the Department of Petroleum Resources, the Petroleum Technology Development Fund and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency.
It noted that the agencies had remained at a dysfunctional distance far from the geographical centers of their operations and mandate and hence impeding their performance.
“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 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,” IPA stated.
It urged 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.
According to the group, the stakeholders should work with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and the Minister of Budget and National Planning to facilitate the actualisation 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.
According to the statement, “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 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 mobilising its wide membership, expertise and leverages towards the fulfillment of this potentially redefining and transformative presidential directive.”
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