Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has taken exception to insinuations by some International Oil Companies (lOCs) that their failure to relocate their headquarters to the Niger Delta was as result of the insecurity in the region.
The foremost Ijaw youth group in a statement in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, its national headquarters, said there was no tenable excuse for the refusal of the oil companies to move their offices to the area where their operations are based.
According to the Secretary General of the group, Mr Alfred Kemepado, there is nowhere in the world where the current Nigerian model of locating head offices outside of regions where oil majors operate is obtainable.
â€œOil companies in Europe operate within the territory where crude is extracted. So why is it different here in the Niger Delta?
â€œThe allegation that the Niger Delta is not secure remains an evil blackmail, because the police records have proven that the region remains one of the most secure in Nigeria. If the region is not secure, how come oil production per barrel is increasing?â€ he queried.
Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, had during a peace tour of the Niger Delta, assured the region that the federal government was working closely with the oil companies to ensure that they moved their headquarters to the region.
Kemepado argued that even when insurgents struck in parts of the country, including the federal capital, there was no news of any company relocating for reasons of insecurity, noting that there was a deliberate ploy to â€œde-market,â€ the region.
â€œThere are Boko Baram bombings in the North. Even in Abuja, they even struck, yet companies are not relocating. The situation in the Niger Delta is not peculiar to the region, therefore the rumoured issue of insecurity is not a potent reason why the IOCs should not relocate,â€ the IYC scribe said.
The Ijaw youth body said that many people were benefitting from painting the Niger Delta in bad light, stressing that the â€˜cabalsâ€™ must back down on the campaign to dent the image of the oil-rich area.
â€œ The Niger Delta region has suffered a deliberate de-marketing and image-denting by those involved in bad politics, simply for their selfish gains. Niger Deltans are a peaceful people,â€ he posited.
â€œSome cabals have connived with the IOCâ€™s to deliberately de-market the region in order to gain total control of her economy,â€ the IYC alleged.