The House of Representatives on Thursday urged the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, to prevail on Shell not to relocate from Port-Harcourt, the River State capital.
The House called on the minister, the National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS, and Shell to suspend the reported planned relocation and allow it the opportunity to intervene.
This followed a motion by Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers) and seven other lawmakers, which was unanimously adopted by members through a voice vote.
Moving the motion, Mr. Chinda described the planned relocation of Shell from Port-Harcourt as a threat to national security.
He explained that Shell had on September 15, 2016 issued tender document advertising for tenders for the construction of a supply base service.
Mr. Chinda further explained that the Niger Delta region had witnessed increasing divestments and relocation by Shell on spurious reason bordering on high operational costs.
He said that the major demand of the Pan Niger-Delta Forum (PAN-DEF) meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in December 2016, was the return of the operational bases of all oil companies and oil servicing companies to the Niger-Delta to help the restive youths.
The lawmaker added that the major cause of militancy in the region was the allegation of abandonment by operators in the oil sector and the consequential poverty and degraded environment.
He expressed concerns that several youth and stakeholders in the region were provoked and were already protesting the planned relocation which will further escalate militant activities in the region.
The youth restiveness, Mr. Chinda said, will affect the Nigerian economy that was already experiencing recession due to low crude oil output.
The House, therefore, set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the planned relocation and its implications and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.
The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, has also appealed to the Shell not to relocate its corporate headquarters from Port Harcourt.
Mr. Peterside made the appeal in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Thursday by his media team.
The statement said that if the Rivers State Government’s petition to the Senate over planned relocation of SPDC’s headquarters from Port Harcourt to Lagos was true, then it had grave consequences for the state.
It said the issue was serious and accused the state government of engaging in needless controversies that might have informed the decision by the oil company.
The statement alleged that the state government did not appreciate the fact that it took so much effort to bring the SPDC headquarters to Rivers.
According to the statement, Mr. Peterside urged SPDC to have a rethink about its plan because the Federal Government was making concerted efforts to ensure security in Rivers.
“For long, we warned Governor Nyesom Wike that his utterances and actions were drawing the state backward.
“Wike should to rise to statesmanship and govern the state like a man ready for the job. His actions have fuelled unnecessary tension in the state, with many people killed,” it alleged.
The statement further claimed that Governor Wike’s constant false alarms of plans to assassinate him, were sending out the wrong signals.
It said Mr. Peterside would join hands with relevant stakeholders within and outside Rivers to put pressure on Shell not to move its headquarters to Lagos.
“Already the Federal Government has signed an agreement with an Italian firm, Eni to refurbish the Port Harcourt Refinery.
“The Lagos-Calabar rail line will soon come on stream. We need all the investments we can get so our state can move forward.”