ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Umbrella body of Ijaw youths, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, has berated the Federal Government over alleged relocation of the National Petroleum Investment Services Unit (NAPIMS) to Abuja instead of the Niger Delta.
NAPIMS is a Corporate Services Unit (CSU) in the Exploration and Production Directorate of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) charged with the responsibility of managing government’s investment in the Upstream sector of the oil and gas industry.
President, IYC, Peter Timothy Igbifa, said they found the Federal Government’s action curious against the backdrop that the loud cry of the people for the relocation of oil multinationals to the region had consistently fallen on deaf ears.
Igbifa’s position is contained in a statement on Thursday after a peace meeting between the IYC and management of ExxonMobil in Ibeno Clan in Akwa Ibom State.
He noted that the OML 29 gas leakage at Sangana and gas explosion in Nembe, both in Bayelsa State, Ibeno oil spill and other related oil spills were sadly becoming a continuum in recent history and were largely due to IOCs operating far from the region.
Igbifa said: “We cannot as a people keep paying with our lives to sustain the economic future of this country. We are aware of the scheming and internal usurpation techniques by powers that be to keep playing the divide-and-rule game.
“The use of delay tactics by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) in site visitations and reporting have further empowered oil firms to celebrate false reports as tidal changes reduce evidence during the intentional delays.”
He noted that it was time to either relocate the IOCs to the Niger Delta with the full support of the people or risk the future of Nigeria’s economy, warning that the oil politics being played by the political class must come to an end.
Igbifa said if it was not good enough for the IOCs to relocate to the region, then the oil was also not good enough for the IOCs to explore.
He also said that the ‘stylistic’ movement of the head office of the Nigerian Gas Marketing Company (NGMC) from Warri in Delta State to Abuja must not see the light of the day.
He asked the Federal Government to relocate the 70% NGMC workers in Abuja to Warri or it would succeed in creating crisis which it would pay for in January 2022.
Igbifa said: “We are not in the dark of the purported plans by the Managing Director of NGMC that has successfully transferred about 70% of the workforce with documents to the Abuja office.
“This action will only aggravate avoidable chaos. This must not see the light of day.”
He, therefore, called on the Southsouth National Assembly members to quickly sacrifice their comfort and address the development which he said was an open secret.
He described the plan as an expression of age-long hatred by some persons in power, saying it was a clear drumbeat of war allegedly being supervised by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He further said: “The Federal Government has divided Niger Deltan people against each other on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), while the North East Development Commission is waxing stronger.
“They have removed Niger Delta from the NNPC, directed oil companies to openly discharge oil and gas not needed into the region’s environment just to create a technical genocide for the aquatic and human lives if not for the mercy of God while Buhari went to the UN Assembly to speak for the Lake Chad Basin on Wet Lands. As if it is not enough, Buhari has directed the NGMC to relocate to Abuja via a secret Memo.
“It is still shocking that Buhari secretly authorised the relocation of NAPIMS from Lagos to Abuja with an emergency acquisition of a property at a whooping sum of N4.7b and a N2.8b for renovation with variation in Abuja Abuja all to spite the people of Niger Delta.
“Let it be made clear that the Niger Delta has a good number of quality buildings with capacity to accommodate the less than 600 NAPIMS staff. Therefore, NAPIMS should be relocated to the Niger Delta region, not Abuja.”