As part of a measure to help stop unrest in the Niger Delta, the Nigerian government called for major oil firms in the country to move their main offices to the oil-rich area.
Since the 1990s, rebels have been attacking the Niger Delta to seek a fairer share of the country’s multi-billion-dollar oil wealth for local residents. This conflict has reduced output and hampered revenue, especially at a time of falling international oil prices.
To address the issue, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who has been in charge while President Muhammadu Buhari is taking a medical leave in the UK, ordered major oil firms, such as Anglo-Dutch Shell, Chevron, and Mobil, to relocate their main offices to the troubled region. In a statement, he said:
“If the oil companies move their headquarters to the Niger Delta, they will be more responsive to the grievances of the people with a view to addressing them.”
Austin Tam-George, the information commissioner for the Rivers State, also called the act of oil firms to establish their headquarters away from their extraction zones as “improper and unacceptable”. He stated:
“The Niger Delta is where the oil companies carry out their exploration activities, with the resultant effects of spills and damage to the ecosystem. They need to have their administrative base there.
“I can say for sure that once the companies comply, the militancy and violence will end, because the people will see themselves as stakeholders in the business.”
Currently, the federal and state governments have started scaling back the conflict using some unified peace efforts, with over 22,000 ex-militants already surrendering their weapons. Now, the relocation will not only boost these efforts, but will also empower young people with training, jobs, and vocational skills.