Ijaw Youths have hailed President Goodluck Jonathan’s directive that the fabrication of Egina Floating Production Storage and Offloading, FPSO, vessel be relocated to Agge in Bayelsa State.
The $500 million project had earlier been slated for LADOL fabrication yard in Lagos but was controversially ordered for relocation by President Jonathan earlier this month. The directive, which has raised eyebrows as it comes in the twilight of the Jonathan administration, also instructed industry operators to move oil and gas cargoes to only ports in Warri, Calabar and Onne, nearer to the Niger Delta where the projects are to be sited.
The youth under the aegis of Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, in a statement issued in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital on Sunday by its spokesman, Eric Omare, said the directive made economic sense and was in tandem with the Nigerian Content Act, 2010.
“The IYC and indeed the Niger Delta people back the directive of President Jonathan to move the fabrication of oil and gas materials to the Niger Delta where the eventual job is to be done.
“This is not only in line with the requirement of the local content law but is also makes so much economic sense.
“It is common knowledge that Lagos is highly congested and there is need to move some class of cargoes especially oil and gas materials to ports within the Niger Delta region where the oil facilities are located.
“We consider the opposition to the Presidential directive and the attendant media propaganda as an insult on Niger Delta people”, Mr. Omare stated.
Mr. Omare also said all the oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region have their head offices in Lagos to the detriment of the Niger Delta economy, even when, he said, existing laws stipulate they should be domiciled in the Niger Delta.
The IYC spokesman said that henceforth, Niger Delta residents would take steps to ensure that any oil company without its headquarters in the Niger Delta region would not be allowed to operate in the region.
He also frowned and condemned an ex-parte order of the federal High Court asking that the relocation directive be suspended.
“We wonder how the federal High Court would hurriedly grant such an order without giving opportunity to other parties to present their own side of the case.
“We question the swiftness of the order and call on the National Judicial Council to investigate the judge who granted the order.
“We want to make it clear that whether court injunction or no court injunction, we would not allow materials to be fabricated in Lagos and used to build oil platform in the Niger Delta region.
“Niger Deltans have been taken for granted for too long and we would no longer accept it”, the group said.