Relocate to Niger Delta where you make your money, stakeholders tell oil companies
They argued that if the region was safe to exploit and drill oil and gas, it should also be safe enough to host the headquarters of any oil and gas company operating in the region, maintaining that payment of taxes to host communities could not be compared to the development of the region.
They spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State during the sub-technical section of the fourth National Council on the Niger Delta.
Declaring the section open, Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, who lamented that the region was harbouring an army of jobless youths, urged oil and gas companies to relocate their headquarters to the region for enhanced growth and development.
Her words: “The recent #EndSARS protests is an eye-opener to the fact that there is an army of jobless youths waiting for something to trigger them to action and we do not want to see an upsurge of insecurity in the region but a complete playdown, so that we can attract investors.
“So, the headquarters of all gas companies should be relocated to our region because the region is safe to drill oil and gas and should be safe for their headquarters.”
Banigo said lack of leadership and political will to move the region out of underdevelopment still remained a major challenge, adding that stakeholders in the region were not unaware of a viable roadmap to bring the region out of its socio-economic challenges.
She recalled that between 2000 and 2004, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) developed a plan with an estimate of $50b to transform the region within 15 years.
She added, however, that investigation revealed that over $47b had been invested in the NDDC for development projects from the commencement of the master plan in 2000 till date, which is now 20 years.
President of Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas, (HOSTCOM), Dr. Benjamin Style, urged oil and gas companies to relocate to the region where they make their money to add more value to the economic development of the region rather than just paying taxes.
“There should be a coastal road from Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Edo and Ondo states to Lagos to ease transportation of goods and services,” he added.
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