South-South governors may oppose amendment to NLNG Act
• Fear negative effect of review on region’s economy
The governors of the South-South geo-political zone may move against the amendment to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited Act by the National Assembly.
NLNG’s Train 7 and Train 8 project has the potential to bring more than $20 billion investment and create 18, 000 jobs. A Train in liquefied gas production is the equivalent of an oil well. Managers of the gas project warned that amendment of the NLNG Act would lead to loss of confidence in Nigeria by the international community.
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike gave the hint yesterday when the management of the NLNG visited him at the Government House, Port Harcourt. Wike explained that he had keenly monitored the events in the National Assembly concerning the proposed amendment. He revealed that governors of the South-South would form a common front to oppose the bill which he said would adversely impact on the economy of the oil-producing states.
The governor said that the state government would mobilise its representatives at the National Assembly to ensure that the NLNG Limited remains in good stead to continue with its operations.
He implored the Federal Government not to allow the amendment to sail through at the National Assembly because of the negative multiplier effect it would have on the economy. “Anything that will affect the economy of Rivers State, we will always fight. It is about Rivers State,” the governor said.
Wike observed that the focus of the Federal Government is on the major ethnic groups, while ignoring ethnic minorities especially in the Niger Delta from where the bulk of the country’s revenue is generated. He noted that just because the Hausa and Igbo are involved in conflict, a national meeting has been called by the presidency.
“When it is South-South, Nigeria never calls a meeting, but because Arewa has given a quit notice to the Igbo and the Igbo have replied, we are to sit down and talk. When the problem was here (South-South), nobody said sit down and let’s talk about these people’s problems. Those who are causing this crisis are those who refuse to listen to the yearnings and cries of the people,” Wike said.
According to him, agitations in the South-South have remained rife because the authorities ignore the geo-political zone, even though the people produce the wealth that sustains the nation.
The governor commended the management of the NLNG for offering to partner the Federal Government to construct the all-important Bodo -Bonny Bridge.
“I thank you for the Bodo-Bonny bridge. I hope it is not political. I have always advocated this important bridge. I thank the NLNG for telling the Federal Government that they are willing to put down money for the construction of the bridge.”
Wike implored the management of the NLNG to bring the construction of the Ship Building Dockyard to Rivers State to boost its economy. The governor also urged the NLNG to act on the agreement it entered into with the Rivers State government for the rehabilitation of schools with N4 billion.
Earlier, the Managing Director of NLNG Limited, Mr. Tony Attah, had implored the state government to collaborate with other critical stakeholders to ensure that the NLNG Limited Act is not amended as it will negatively affect the operation of the company on the international stage.
“I must say that the trains seven and eight which will be in Rivers State have the potential to bring more than 18, 000 jobs into the state with up to $20billion investments once we take the final decision,” Attah said.
He explained that the NLNG is operating six trains which generate more than 20 million tonnes, making it the fourth in the global ranking of LNGs .
According to him, the trains seven and eight, will take the capacity of the NLNG to 30 million tonnes and make it third in the world.