PANDEF: Edwin Clark Commends Gov Emmanuel, Urges Mobil To Relocate Its Headquarters
A foremost leader of the Niger Delta region, Chief Edwin Clark, has again reiterated the need for Mobil Producing to relocate its headquarters to Eket in Akwa Ibom State, saying it is very cruel and unfair for the company to continue operating from Lagos.
Clark who spoke at the General Assembly of Pan Niger Forum (PANDEF) in Uyo also urged Chevron to relocate its headquarters to Warri, Delta State, Agip should relocate Bayelsa while Shell’s haphazard relocation to River States should be concretized.
Chief Clark lamented that Lagos state gets revenue higher than budgets of some states from these companies, while the host communities get nothing short of polluted land and water.
He insisted that the spiral effects of their operations from Lagos also affects other businesses as buses and other forms of services are offered to the workers in the base, while more money goes to helicopters and house boats that convey the workers to and from work each day.
The PANDEF convener also warned that the demand for relocation was essential as it will stimulate the companies to wake up to their social responsibilities to their host communities.
While thanking God for the survival of Governor Emmanuel at the December Church collapse in Uyo, Chief Clark commended the Governor for always identifying with, and showing support to the agitations of PANDEF.
“Last year when we went to visit the President, Governor Emmanuel came around with us, and today he has graciously hosted us in Uyo and we really thank him for all the support,” Clark echoed.
Addressing the Forum, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel sued for more collaborations between the Niger Delta governors in order to always present a common position on issues of the exploitation and marginalisation of the region.
Emmanuel who wanted the governors to be in the forefront of the struggle, said with more support from him and his colleagues, the efforts of PANDEF would yield more results.
“I expect all of us as governors in the Niger Delta to do more than we are doing today. We need to speak with one voice. We need to rise and say this is how it hurts us.”
The governor said with the support of his brother governors, they would be able to attract more impactful projects and programmes to the region, even if it a major skills development center or one rail project to link the region,” he said
“I personally take it as a duty to see what we can do for the region. Recently I approached the World Bank to request that they establish a mega project that would service the entire region, but they asked us to come as a group.”
He commended the elders for their sacrifices and commitments in acting as the voice for the region and pledged his continuous support to the Forum.
In a communiqué issued later, the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), called for immediate implementation of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo’s directive that oil companies should relocate their headquarters to their areas of operation.
The forum also called on the Federal Government to review the 2017 budget to reflect the contribution of Niger Delta region to the nation’s economy through substantial allocation of funds for development.
PANDEF maintained that the 2017 budget as currently proposed is lopsided and skewed against the region.
Others who attended the meeting were, former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah; former Military Governor, King Alfred Diette-Spiff, and a member of central working committee and PANDEF leader in Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd).
They reaffirmed their prescription of dialogue as the only way to resolve crisis in the Niger Delta.