Workers of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) have kicked against the company’s plan to move its operational base from Onne in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to Lagos.
According to a statement made available to newsmen on Thursday, the workers described the planned relocation as hurried and ill-advised as against the interest of the Niger-Delta region.
The statement signed by Edward Otaru on behalf of the affected SNEPCo workers reads: “We, the affected operations staff and expatriates of SNEPCo wish to bring the attention of the Federal Government and well-meaning Nigerians of a plan by the management of our company to forcefully relocate our operations from Onne, Port Harcourt to Lagos.
“The hushed, hurried but forceful relocation order emanated under a strange and suspicious condition, as it was neither discussed with the staff nor backed by any justifiable reasons.
“We decided to bring this to the notice of the government and the public because of its implication on our families, who might suffer unnecessary dislocation and also its implication on the Niger-Delta region,” Otaru said in the statement.
Otaru said that the plan to move men and materials from the Niger-Delta region to Lagos is also contrary to the directive of the Federal Government, which in 2017, asked oil companies to retain their headquarters in their operational bases in the Niger-Delta region.
The workers called on the Federal Government to halt the planned movement in the interest of jobs and development of the Niger-Delta region. SNEPCo operates Nigeria’s deep-water oil and gas production at the Bonga field. Recall that on March 2, 2017 Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in his capacity as Nigeria’s Acting President, directed International Oil Companies operating in the Niger-Delta region to relocate their headquarters to their States of operation to mitigate tension in host communities.
Osinbajo had directed the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu to commence the process of engaging the International Oil Companies (IOCs) on the way forward to actualise the directive.