Former member of the House of Representatives, Temi Harriman has expressed concern over the desertion of the Niger Delta by multi-national oil companies and lauded the proposal by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege to move their headquarters to the region.
Harriman in a statement made available to Vanguard said the oil companies had in recent years moved assets away from the region, cutting down on staff and through these bringing lethargy to the economy of the region.
She also expressed concern that the move of the oil companies could be linked to the poor economic environment the companies have been faced with. She especially noted the delay by the government in reaching investment decisions could also have contributed to the increasing malaise.
Noting that the move by Senator Omo-Agege was in sync with an earlier directive by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to the companies, she said:
“Senator Omo-Agege’s call is especially welcome at this time and must be supported by all legislators and the operating companies in order to ensure that balance between the community and the companies,” Harriman said.
“In the Fourth Assembly, a bill I sponsored calling for resource control and the relocation of oil companies to their operational areas was defeated in the House of Representatives by 81 votes to 64 on 9th May, 2001.
“I believe that the time for this measure to be effected has come and I call on all legislators and indeed stakeholders from the region to support the proposal.
“By sitting their headquarters in the region, the oil companies would properly identify with the people of the region and indeed affirm their stake as long term stakeholders in the sector.
“I also call on all stakeholders including the authorities to create the enabling environment that would cause the industry to grow.”