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2 weeks after presidential directive, IOCs adamant to relocate headquarters to Niger Delta

Barely two week after Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo handed down a presidential directive mandating all International Oil Companies (IOCs) to relocate to their host communities in Niger Delta, undercover investigations in four leading IOCs, (names with held) has not even raised a any internal memo to review the order not to talk of discussing the matter.

In a discussion with a top official, in fact a senior Director in one of the companies notorious for oil spills in producing communities, he said “We cannot comment nor do anything on that because we have not received any official letter from government on that regard”.

“Government is fully aware on the model of communication transmission in the oil and gas sector and it has not followed that path, so I don’t think we have violated any law in that wise.

However, efforts to find out if the presidential directive was actually followed up by written memo to all concerned companies failed as sms sent to the relevant offices since Friday have not been responded to till this Monday morning

Besides, Lagos constitutional lawyer and human rights crusader, Moses Mekson has said that no amount of presidential directives or official commands will compel International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in Nigeria to relocate their corporate headquarters’ unless a constitutional provision is involved.

In an exclusive interview with Business Hilights, he said “Even the recent directive given by the Acting President during his recent peace tour in oil rich Niger Delta will not perturb the companies because they are aware that there is no law under which they are breaching in remaining outside their host communities or anywhere around there”.

“For too long, government has been clamouring on that and no action is being observed because IOCs know that government is not actually serious in their quest for the relocation.

Explaining more, Mekson said “there is no need for a new drafting of related law to do that job than to quicken action in the passage of the ageless petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which can be said to be the most frustrated and pending bill in the history of National Assembly that has passed through highest number of years without progress”.

“Again, the government that is giving the relocation directives only need to go back to the PIB  to make sure that it is clearly stated there and then see what they can do to pass the bill into law before the end of the present Senate.

Not persuading the lawmakers to pass PIB on one hand and directing IOCs to relocate is an abuse of the collective intelligence of Niger Delta region and Nigerians in general.

Only two weeks ago at Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo directed the IOCs operating in the Niger-Delta region to relocate their headquarters to their States of operation to mitigate tension in host communities.

Osinbajo, gave the directive at a Town Hall meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital during continuation visit to the region to dialogue with stakeholders.

The Acting President urged the Minister of State, Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu to begin the process of engaging the IOCs on the way forward to actualize the directive, saying “I think it is the right thing to do”.

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