Niger Delta Ex-Militants on Monday applauded Acting President Yemi Osinbanjo for directing oil firms to relocate their headquarters to the oil bearing states within the Niger-Delta region.
The ex-agitators who are beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme under phase 2 in Bayelsa said that the directive has brought respite to youths in host communities.
Chairman of the Phase II Amnesty Programme beneficiaries, Mr Salvation Ibena Rufus said in Yenagoa that if implemented, the directive would fast track development of the region.
Rufus commended the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu and Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Brig.- Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd) for their relentless efforts in ensuring the success of the new partnership between host communities, the federal government and multinational oil companies.
According to the ex-agitator, the youths in the region are pleased with the untiring efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari, particularly for considering host communities’ youths as active participants in the oil and gas sector.
He noted that the federal government has shown its commitment through the planned establishment of modular refineries to replace the present illegal refining activities in the creeks of the Niger Delta.
He said that the ongoing collaboration between the Office of the Special to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme and that of the Minister of State for Petroleum was yielding results.
According to Rufus, such partnerships with the state governments in the region will create job opportunities for young people in the states and take them off the labour market and make them unavailable for restiveness.
Rufus, who is also is a director at the Bayelsa State Environmental Sanitation Authority, regretted that all the multinational oil companies operating in the region have their offices in either Lagos or Abuja.
He noted that successive governments from 1999 have not been able to achieve much in sincerely proffering solutions to the problems of the Niger Delta region.
The Ex-militant leader expressed confidence in the recent pronouncements made by Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo in course of his tour to states in the region.
He noted that the steps so far taken by the federal government would herald a new lease of life in the quest for a rapid socio-economic development of the Niger Delta region.
Rufus pointed out that the relocation of oil companies to the region would foster peace, unity and rapid development, assuring that his group would work to ensure that the oil companions have hitch-free operations in the region.
It will be recalled that the Acting President gave the directive at a Town Hall meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital on Thursday during continuation visit to the region to dialogue with stakeholders.
Osinbajo had urged the Minister of State, Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu to begin the process of engaging the International Oil Companies on the way forward to actualize the directive, saying “I think it is the right thing to do”.