Ijaw youths on Friday warned the National Assembly that they would resist the rejection of the executive order to oil companies to relocate their administrative head offices to the Niger Delta region.
The youths, under the aegis of the Ijaw Youth Council, expressed dissatisfaction that the House of Representatives could reject a motion calling on such oil firms to relocate their head offices to the Niger Delta.
It will be recalled that a member of the House of Representatives from Imo State, Mr. Goodluck Opiah, had moved a motion suggesting that there was need for all oil companies operating in Nigeria to open offices in the communities where they were engaged in exploration.
The motion was supported by a member from Rivers State, Mr. Kingsley Chinda, who dismissed the argument that the Niger Delta region was insecure, hence the relocation of oil companies to other states outside the region as untenable.
But Aminu Shehu Shagari of Sokoto opposed the motion, describing it as ill-conceived, inconsiderate, even as the motion was later thrown out through voice vote.
However, a statement by the Eric Omare-led IYC, indicated that the action of the lower house was unacceptable to the youths of Niger Delta.
According to the statement signed by the group’s spokesman, Mr. Henry Iyalla, the action of the House of Representatives was unacceptable.
The IYC recalled that there had been an executive order to oil companies to relocate their head offices to the Niger Delta region and added that the matter was not under the purview of the House of Representatives
It pointed out that the action of the lower House was capable of undermining the demands of the people of the region.
According to the IYC, “The Federal House of Representatives in its sitting held on Tuesday rejected a motion brought by Goodluck Opiah (PDP, Imo) requesting the House to impress on the IOCs to relocate their administrative head offices to the Niger Delta Region.
“We state that the call for the relocation of IOC’s is not within the purview of the Federal House of Representatives since an executive order had already been issued and we expect administrative action to be in full swing to that effect.
“Any action capable of undermining that order will not see the light of day as the Ijaw Youth Council will rise to ensure actions with the aim of marginalising or undermining the demands of the region will be resisted vehemently.
“The Ijaw Youth Council wishes to state unequivocally that this rejection is unacceptable coming at a time when the Federal Government has given a directive to all IOCs to relocate to the region as part of its fulfilment of the Pan-Niger Delta Elders Forum demands and when we are expecting the IOCs to make moves for such relocation.”
Describing the action of the House as condemnable, the IYC noted that the rejection of the motion showed the “real mindset” of leaders, who had continued to pay lip service to the agitations and demand of the oil rich region.
The IYC pointed out that the action of the House was capable of causing unrest in the Niger Delta region, adding that the relocation of the IOCs would make them to be committed to environmental issues affecting the area.
“This is capable of causing unrest in the region which has thus far been peaceful.
“Furthermore, we wish to state categorically that the relocation of the administrative head offices of the IOCs will make it impossible for them to give a deaf ear to all the degradation and environmental issues suffered by the region.
“The IOCs will see and experience firsthand, the result of their operations in the region. The people of the region are peace loving and will ensure the success of such move,” the Ijaw group said.