â€¢ Want Multinationals to Relocate Headquarters
Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Ijaw youths on TuesdayÂ maintained that many cases of pipeline explosions in the Niger Delta were caused by expired facilities and urged multinationals oil companies to urgently begin the process of replacing them.
The youths also called for the immediate relocation of headquarters of oil companies operating in the region to the Niger Delta, insisting that the argument that the area was not safe remained a myth.
Tare Porri, erstwhile Legal Adviser of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), who addressed journalists along with scores of members of the youth body, insisted that since the pipelines were buried in 1958, they had not been replaced by the multinationals.
The lawyer who is currently gunning for the chairmanship of the IYC, central zone, spoke at the councilâ€™s national headquarters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
â€œIn the entire Niger Delta today, all the pipelines crisscrossing the region have expired. Most of the explosions for which they blame the Ijaw youths are bust pipes as a result of corrosion.
â€œThey (oil companies) know that these pipes have expiry dates. Thereâ€™s a limit to how long they can last. Even human beings expire, talk more of pipes made by man.
â€œThese pipelines have been there since they found oil in BayelsaÂ in Oloibiri. Itâ€™s still the same pipelines. Ijaw youths are hardworking. Most of the pipeline issues are not caused by Ijaw youths I can assure you. They are caused by equipment failure,â€ he said.
On the demand for the relocation of oil companiesâ€™ head offices to their bases in the region, the youth leader stated that the perception that the Niger Delta was not safe remained untrue.
â€œAre you aware of what is happening in Lagos. Bayelsa is one of the safest States in Nigeria. Look at Ikorodu and the rest. They paint the Ijaw people black once there is an issue.
â€œOnce the multinationals do the needful, our youths are ready to protect the pipelines. We donâ€™t have a single operational base, not to talk of headquarters here,â€ he said.
He wondered why the federal government keeps spending so much money on security when they know â€œwe have the capacity to protect the facilities.
â€œIjaw youths cannot burn down what they are paid to protect. But again, it is this security fund that some people are feeding fat on. So, they wonâ€™t do the right thing,â€ the youth leader argued.
He applauded the efforts of Governor Seriake Dickson to reconcile warring factions within the IYC, noting that after due consideration he had decided to step down as legal adviser in the Eric Omare-led group for the sake of peace.
â€œWe appreciate he governor for his untiring efforts in ensuring that peace returns to the Ijaw nation, especially in the IYC and INC. We need to bury our differences. A position has been taken and I cannot be bigger than the whole Ijaw people,â€ he said.