By Tom Amakri, Port Harcourt
Some Ijaw youths, have asked Anglo-Dutch multinational oil prospecting company, Shell, to prepare to vacate its lucrative offshore oilfields in the Niger Delta if it eventually carries out its plan to relocate its corporate headquarters from Rivers State to Lagos.
The youths under the aegis of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide condemned the relocation plot describing the move as insensitive and provocative.
In a statement signed by its Spokesman, Mr. Eric Omare, they lamented that the plan was capable of worsening the security situations in the region, saying “This move by Shell is not only insensitive but capable of escalating the already volatile security situation in the Niger Delta region.
“While critical stakeholders are making frantic efforts to restore peace and security to the already volatile Niger Delta region orchestrated by wrong policies of Shell and its allies in the Nigerian government over the years, the company is planning another move that would worsen the security situation in the Delta.
“The IYC is aware of the evil and selfish plan of Shell which is to substantially sell off its onshore assets, maintain only crude oil transportation and storage facilities and operate the lucrative EA and Bonga offshore oil fields located in the Niger Delta from Lagos by carrying of its workers through helicopter on a daily basis.
“This plan clearly demonstrates the anti-community and Niger Delta nature of Shell. It was such anti-oil producing communities policies by Shell, Chevron, Exxon Mobil and other multinationals operating in the Niger Delta region that gave birth to the present restiveness in the Niger Delta region.
“The implication of Shell relocating its corporate headquarters from the Niger Delta to Lagos is that the region would lose all the economic and other associated benefits that come with having a corporate headquarters in the region.
“The Niger Delta states would not only lose revenue but even businessmen doing business with Shell had to move from the Niger Delta region to Lagos with the attendant negative economic effects”.
Omare added: “The IYC has called on Shell to halt its evil and anti-Niger Delta plan or be ready to completely move out of its offshore oil platforms located in the Niger Delta namely: EIA and Bonga offshore oil fields.
“These are the oil fields that Shell intends to operate from Lagos through transportation of workers on helicopter on a daily basis so as to avoid its corporate responsibilities to Niger Delta communities affected by its operations.
“If Shell insists on moving its corporate headquarters from the Niger Delta to Lagos, it must also be ready to move out from the EA and Bonga offshore oil fields”.