Sunday, 25 June 2017

RELOCATION OF OPERATIONAL HQS,: OIL COMPANIES SHOULD BE SANCTIONED IF-BARRISTER IWOLO By Evans Tubonah

Barrister Iwolo Ebeni

Ag. President Yemi Osinbajo
  A Yenagoa based legal practitioner, Barrister Iwolo Ebeni has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to sanction Oil companies operating in the country should they flout the executive order by the President that they should relocate their corporate headquarters to their areas of operations.
Barrister Ebeni who is a voice in the Niger Delta on critical issues stated this, while exangig views with the Golden Pen Newspaper in the Bayelsa state capital, Saturday.
He took a swipe on the oil companies for not being proactive to the myriad of compliants by oil bearing communities and the consequences of protestations, agitation and militancy over the years.
Giving kudos to the Acting President, Professor Osinbajo for giving the executive order, Barrister Ebeni said the delay by the oil companies since after the order not showing any sign of relocation tantamount to undermining the federal authority, and posited that such attitudes are most likely to attract punitive measures. Hear him:-
"There are several measures you deal with erring corporate organizations, once the president of a country makes any pronouncement;  that should be taken as a policy statement, and when it is flouted, there should be some punitive measures.
"If they are sanctioned then they will know that... the president has spoken and they must obey so, sanction must follow, and once they are sanctioned, definitely they will do what is needful. So I am recommending that they should be sanctioned."
The legal practitioner, tracing the history of oil find in Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta, remarked that the people of oil bearing communities across the Niger Delta have suffered degradation and poverty, while all the benefits accruing from it's exploration and exploitation was used to improve lands and people outside the region.
"If you talk about development in the Niger Delta from when oil was found, if you go to Oloibiri, Southern/Ijaw, Nembe, Brass, Yenagoa and the rest of the LAG's where oil production activities are taking place, you will weep. I say so because those areas uptil now are underdeveloped. You know Kaiama/Declaration came as a result of the under development of the Niger Delta. When our people went and saw how Abuja was developed as a result of the money gotten from oil, when the went to Lagos and  saw some of these things people were honesty agitated, compared to where this oil is coming from. Go to Korokorosei, go to Ajujuama, and other oil producing  areas you discover that development has not gotten to any of these areas, compared to what is taken away from there. So, in terms of development...Bayelsa, Niger Delta generally is under developed"
He therefore called on the oil companies to obey the FG relocation order and build their corporate headquarters in the areas of their operation to change the story of the region, by effecting employment, and developing the land?
The Lawyer observed with concern what he called the laziness of the youths of the Niger Delta, because of the operations of oil companies in their areas in these words
"There are a lot of issues that are associated with the discovery of oil. It has made our youths lazy, so lazy in the sense that because of th companies that are coming around us.. nobody is ready to work, nobody  is ready to any hard work The agricultural aspect that was booming that, before the oil era, nobody thinks about it, nobody is thinking of how to work and earn a living any more.
" We have stay at home  jobs, people stay at homes and get salaries. People agitate over one thing or the other without going to school .."
Out of all these Barrister Iwolo Ebeni noted that the region had been left underdeveloped by the oil companies, with all their headquarters located far away from their operational areas, the reason for which the executive order by the Federal Government directing the relocation of all oil companies headquarters to their operational states, came at the most appropriate time, and urged the FG not to shy away from sanctioning them if they dare flout the order, he concluded.

Oil flow station

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