NIGERIA’S senate has initiated moves that will compel multinational oil companies to relocate their operational bases to the Niger Delta as part of a plan to create jobs and regenerate the region.
Despite being the source of Nigeria’s oil wealth, the Niger Delta is one of the most deprived parts of the country, totally lacking in infrastructure. To make matters worse, pollution has destroyed local industries like fishing, boat-making, net-making, etc and with the oil companies not employing local youths, unemployment has spiralled out of control.
Niger Delta youth groups have long demanded that the oil giants should be compelled to locate their Nigerian headquarters to the region to provide jobs for local people. Seeking to now make this law, the Nigerian senate has mandated its committees on petroleum resources upstream, downstream petroleum sector and gas to liaise with the petroleum ministry and the Presidential Implementation Committee on the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
Senators have asked the committees to facilitate the relocation of operational bases of oil and gas companies in Nigeria to the Niger Delta. Senator Albert Akpan of Akwa Ibom introduced the motion, which was co- sponsored by 23 others.
Senator Akpan said: “The senate notes with concern that multinational and Nigerian oil and gas companies have over the years been operating from their respective operational bases until militancy and insecurity in the host communities in the Niger Delta became the order of the day. We also note that the reason proffered by the oil and gas companies for not relocating to their host communities has always been due to insecurity and hostilities in the host communities.
“We are also aware that operating outside the host communities and operational base is the reason for the high cost of production which has been the bane of the country’s oil and gas industry, militating against maximum revenue from crude oil and gas sales to the federation account. We are also convinced that the recent passage and signing into law of the PIA by the National Assembly and the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria respectively, is a major milestone towards the restoration of a lasting peace in the host communities.
“The relocation of these companies to their host communities will further boost development in those areas and enhance the corporate social relationship and strengthen our collective resolve to considerably reduce the contentious cost of production and ensure adequate returns to the federation account.” The motion was adopted the referred to the relevant committees.