In response to the calls by the Federal Government for Oil Companies to move their Headquarters to the NigerDelta region, ExxonMobil, has explained why it cannot move its head office from Lagos to Akwa Ibom State.
During his recent visit to Akwa Ibom, Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo directed the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, “to engage” with the IOCs “on the way forward” over the calls for their relocation.
The acting president’s directive was seen as a major boost to campaigns by Niger Delta States to have oil companies relocate to their states of operation.
ExxonMobil said that the relocation of its head office to Akwa Ibom wouldn’t have “a significant impact” on the state, and also that such movement “was not practical for a number of reasons”.
The company said,
“Mobil has three businesses in Nigeria which are managed by one Lead Country Manager. It is essential that the headquarters of each of those businesses be consolidated in one office where support services can be shared.”
“Lagos offers each of those businesses a convenient and well-suited hub from which all three businesses can be efficiently conducted and coordinated by that manager.”
During Mr. Osinbajo’s visit to Akwa Ibom, one of the speakers who made a case against the federal government, Mobil and other IOCs operating in the state was Nduese Essien, a former minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
Mr. Essien told the acting president, “Apart from the 13 per cent oil derivation money paid to the state government, the oil producing communities in Akwa Ibom have nothing to show for several years of oil exploration in the state.”
“The federal government has shown no interest in meaningful development and presence in the areas, other than providing policemen and other security personnel in the area.”
“They only provide policemen and other security to ensure that oil flows uninterrupted in the area.”
“The oil services companies come from outside Akwa Ibom with their workers whose taxis are paid to their places of residence. The auxiliary benefits and the multiplier effects of operating in the oil producing area are therefore lost.”
Mr. Essien said the story of oil exploration in the state was “the story of woes”, and added that the state was exceptionally peaceful in the Niger Delta region because the elders prevailed upon the youth not to bomb oil.