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IOCs’ failure to relocate to Niger Delta over insecurity mere conspiracy, Wike insists

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared that failure of international oil companies (IOCs) to relocate their corporate headquarters to the Niger Delta region on the excuse of insecurity was a conspiracy theory.

He pointed out that as long as the negative narrative aimed at perpetuating injustice was not addressed, the country’s corporate existence and stability would continue to be threatened.

Wike stated this yesterday at the commissioning of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) corporate headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

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In a statement issued by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, he noted that over the years, multinational oil companies and some vested interest groups have been promoting the negative narrative that the Niger Delta was not safe to legitimise their refusal to relocate to the region.

“If Rivers State is unsafe, why will NLGN be operating in the state and not have its headquarters in Rivers. The proponents of insecurity should have a second thought on the issue because the state is safe. If it is not safe, they cannot build this edifice,” he said.

The governor said it was morally offensive for oil companies to continue to exploit oil and gas in the Niger Delta and take their operational headquarters elsewhere in the country, insisting that the claim that the Niger Delta was unsafe could not be tenable.

“Understand that this conspiracy theory against the Niger Delta is a temporary thing. I can assure you that one day, everybody will come back to their operating base and nobody can change that,” he added.

Wike charged the multinational companies to prove that Lagos and Abuja do not have security issues as the rest of the country, maintaining that flying oil workers from Lagos to the Niger Delta and flying them back was detrimental to the nation’s economy.

He commended the NLNG for being examplary by relocating its corporate headquarters to Rivers State, which is its operational base and assured the management that the state government would continue to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

He also applauded the company for funding the 38 kilometers Bonny-Bodo road for which the Federal Government was expected to provide counterpart funding, adding that it was unfair for the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to approve over N780b for the Abuja-Kano highway, but failed to provide counterpart funding of N60b for the Bonny-Bodo road project.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, lauded the NLNG for playing a crucial role in the country’s gas expansion project, saying for decades, the NLNG had shown commitment to the country’s aspiration to be a leading gas producer globally.

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