By Emma Amaize
PAN- Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to issue a presidential order directing International Oil Companies to relocate their operational headquarters to the Niger Delta region latest March 2022.
The group in a statement, yesterday, by the National Publicity Secretary, Hon Ken Robinson, said IOCs had in defiance of the Federal Government’s directive to the effect in 2017, continued to deny the oil region benefits of their relocation.
It, however, congratulated Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State on the completion and commissioning of the 104-metre high 21-storey Dakkada Tower in Uyo, the state capital.
PANDEF said it was particularly delighted at this amazing feat Governor Emmanuel, especially coming at this time, despite the attending economic realities, adding: “It speaks to a lot of issues, besides the massive socio-economic opportunities and possibilities.”
“Dakkada Tower has not only given Uyo City a new status but has prompted cheerful excitement and new storylines, across the Niger Delta, Nigeria and the world.
“It is a silencer of the naysayers and has harshly negated the irritating narratives, stacked with fallacies and illusions, against the region, underwritten by antagonists and mischief-makers.
‘The expressions of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the commissioning of the Tower were apposite, as usual, particularly that with the development, ‘International Oil Companies have no excuse not to relocate their administrative headquarters to the state.’
“Blandishments are no longer acceptable. PANDEF does not need to recall that it was in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital, that the Vice President, as acting President, in March 2017, gave the directive to IOCs to relocate their operational headquarters to the Niger Delta, during a Town Hall meeting in continuation of his visit to the region, to dialogue with stakeholders.
“It is baffling that, over four years after, the Federal Government has continued to show apathy in enforcing its directive, thereby denying the region the benefits derivable from the relocation of the IOC. That is a grave disservice to those in whose land the industry operates.
” Meanwhile, oil and gas exploration activities continue to degrade the region’s ecosystem and attenuate the peoples’ means of livelihood, with little or no effort to ameliorate their consequential dire standard of living.
“What is expected from the President Muhammadu Buhari administration now, is a presidential order to the IOCs to move their operational headquarters to the Niger Delta region, without any further pretexts. A deadline of March 2022 will be considerable.
“Dakkada Tower is undoubtedly a bold, tall and decisive statement of commitment by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, to make a lasting difference in the state.
“The structure is outstanding and quintessential of the innovative and giant developmental strides, not only in Akwa Ibom state but all the other states of the South-South Zone.
“The entire South-South zone could be turned into a huge economic corridor and a global high-value industrial hub. What is needed now is purposeful, planned and strong regional integration. The governments and people of the zone have to work together with greater understanding, at various levels.
“Wildly, it would be engaging to have the latitude to chime Governor Udom’s classic theme across the region – Niger Delta Dakkada
“Let the people arise and step up to a greater Niger Delta of peace, exponential prosperity and development, for present and future generations. It is a call to action,” the regional body asserted.