Human Rights Activists, Civil Society, Bemoan State Of Politics, Socio-Economy In Delta, Call For SPDC Relocation

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Human rights activists, civil society, professionals and opinion leaders in Delta state have bemoaned what they called the worrisome state of politics, socio-economy and lack of growth and development in the state.

Speaking recently during a yearly stakeholders meeting convened by the Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy (VATLAD), led by its National President, Mr. Emmanuel Igbini, held at the PTI Conference Centre, Effurun, Uwvie local government area of the state, the stakeholders noted that despite the huge resources accruing to the state it was far behind Lagos, Anambra and other states without oil.

The stakeholders warned governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the state House of Assembly to immediately stop all forms of levies and taxes imposed of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises that are managing to survive in the State, saying Small and medium scale industry should be given tax holiday and major interested Investors also be given tax holidays for five years.

“Few companies coming to the State are forced out as a result of multiple taxations and levies and undue harassment from youths loyal to politicians who go around demanding ‘deve’ levies from developers and businesses.”

According to the stakeholders, since the relocation of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), few years ago, the good, hospitable and peaceful people of the state and particularly the oil city of Warri have been drastically affected and have been unjustly denied and deprived of their share of economic benefits accruing from their God-given oil resource, adding that the relocation of Shell has led to simultaneous relocations of many Oil and gas servicing companies to Lagos.

“These relocations also led to mass movement of thousands of Staff of SPDC, the Servicing Companies and hundreds of other Allied companies to Lagos. These, as expected, led to massive job losses and economic recession in the Oil City of Warri and environs and by extension, Delta State.

“The increasing economic hopeless and recession now imposed on Warri as a result of the immoral, uneconomical and unconstitutional relocation of these oil companies from Warri to Lagos has led to many youths and the sacked workers of these companies to resort to criminalities under the guise of “yahoo boys”, prostitutions and desperate journeys through Libya and Deserts to Europe for survival. This no doubt affects the image of Nigeria.” the meeting stressed.

In a communique issued at the end of the stakeholders meeting on the state of politics and socio-economy of Delta State, signed by Mr. Emmanuel Igbini in behalf of the stakeholders, after critical review of the situation, condemned in its entirety, the pressure mounted on the management of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to relocate its over 50 years administrative and operations base in Warri to Lagos State.

“The deliberate grounding of operations of the Warri Sea Port and diverting same to Lagos is a further injustice against the people of Delta State and Warri in particular. It is a fact that it is more economical and profitable for the oil companies to establish their administrative and operational bases closest to the oil and gas fields and that Shell and other multinational oil companies desire most to have their administrative and operations bases in Warri, Port Harcourt, Eket and Yenagoa as it was in the beginning.

“The relocation of Shell to Lagos is a gross violation section 16 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended, which forbids the undue concentration of wealth and resources of Nigeria in a particular state in this case, Lagos State and therefore the attention of the federal government be drawn to correct this constitutional infraction.

“The location of the headquarters of Shell and other oil and gas companies in Lagos is inconsistent with the reason given by former President Obasanjo for ordering the immediate relocation of the headquarters of Nigerian Maritime Agency (MMA) from Ship House, Abuja, to Lagos State since there are no sea ports in Abuja.” the communiqué stated.

While calling on socio-critics and activists in the state to continue to hold government accountable to the people and ensure credible, free, fair and transparent election come 2019, the stakeholders therefore called on the state governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa, former governors James Ibori, Emmanuel Uduaghan, leaders of political parties, among others to as a matter of urgency ensure that peace and security is improved upon and commence to play high level politics to return Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) back to Warri its most economical and natural best place of  administration and operations.

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