There has been renewed call for oil giant, Mobil Producing Nigeria, to relocate its headquarters from Lagos to Akwa Ibom State where the company has its main operational base.
A group in the Niger Delta, the Niger Delta Peoples Alliance, NDPA, described it as unfair that Akwa Ibom communities continue to suffer environmental degradation because of Mobil’s exploration of crude oil, while Lagos was getting most of the financial benefits.
The campaign for the relocation was initiated about 15 years ago by the Akwa Ibom government, under the then governor, Victor Attah, known for his passionate advocacy for resource control. Since then, several groups have lent their voices over the years to the campaign.
But there is nothing to indicate that the company may likely heed such call.
NDPA claimed that in 2016 alone, there were five cases of oil spillage, involving more than 30,000 barrels of crude oil, within the local communities in the state.
The group, which met in Uyo on Wednesday, said in its communiqué that the oil-rich state wouldn’t have been weighed down by dwindling revenue, when it could generate up to N5 billion monthly, if Mobil’s headquarters were to be in the state.
The communiqué, signed by the group’s Publicity Director, Unyime Isemin, also assessed some moribund companies in the state, and called on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to specifically revoke the privatization of the Aluminium Smelting Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) in Ikot Abasi and the Nigeria Newsprint Manufacturing Company (NNMC) in Oku Iboku.
The group said the government should bring in new companies with capacities to manage them.
“These companies were said to have been privatized for about 10 years now, yet none of them has started production, depriving our teeming youth the needed employment opportunity, (and) also depriving the state of the payee and withholding taxes,” the group said.
It called on the federal government to extend the clean-up of the Niger Delta to the state, as well as upgrade the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, to a maritime university.
It advised the government not to take the people of the state for granted because of their peaceful disposition.
“It is our position that there will be no meaningful and sustainable resolution of (the) Niger Delta struggle without the resolution of items,” the group said.