Senate directs local, multinational oil, gas firms to relocate to operational bases
The Senate, yesterday, enjoined all multinational and Nigerian oil and gas companies to relocate to their operational bases. The decision followed the adoption of a motion jointly sponsored by Senator Albert Bassey Akpan and 24 others at the plenary presided over by Senate President Ahmad Lawan.
The upper legislative chamber mandated its Committees on Petroleum Resources Upstream, Downstream Petroleum Sector, and Gas, to liaise with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Presidential Implementation Committee on the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to facilitate the relocation of the oil and gas firms.
Akpan (PDP, Akwa Ibom North-East), while moving the motion, argued that relocation of the firms to their host communities would boost development in those areas, enhance corporate social relationship, reduce cost of production and ensure adequate returns to the federation account.
He said the measure would create the opportunity to rehabilitate huge infrastructural facilities abandoned by the oil and gas companies in their various operational bases.
He recalled that multinational and Nigerian oil and gas companies had over the years operated from their respective operational bases until militancy and insecurity in host communities of the Niger Delta became the order of the day.
He said the resultant high cost of production remains one of the most contentious elements in the petroleum industry value chain.
He expressed optimism that with the signing into law of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 (PIA), there would be restoration of lasting peace in the communities.
He said the PIA now places responsibility for the safety of oil and gas infrastructure on the host communities, requiring them to safeguard facilities and ensure peaceful co-existence between both parties.
The Senate furthermore ordered immediate probe into alleged extortion of Nigerians by fraudulent Ghanaian officials issuing fake COVID-19 test results and vaccination cards.
The decision followed the adoption of a motion co-sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe and four others. The chamber directed its Committees on Health (Secondary and Tertiary), Primary Health and Communicable Diseases and Foreign Affairs to conduct detailed investigations into the issue.
Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara Central) moved the motion, saying he had been inundated by reports that Ghanaian officials were making Nigerians travelling to Ghana or through Ghana pay almost N1 million naira while in isolation.
He disclosed an allegation that Ghanaian authorities were diagnosing Nigerians as COVID-19 positive even after they had tested negative in their home country.
The lawmaker claimed Ghanaian authorities commit Nigerians who visit their country to isolation for two weeks and make them pay about N70,000 per day.
He made reference to a visit by an artiste, Bella Shmurda, who was told in Ghana that he had COVID-19, even after testing negative at a facility in Nigeria. Bella rejected the result and was kicked out of Ghana. Thereafter, he proceeded to the United States where his test result on arrival came out negative.
Oloriegbe warned that if the situation is not addressed, it might have negative consequences for Nigerians with genuine COVID-19 vaccination cards travelling outside the country.