By Alex Okoro
OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives on Tuesday kicked against a proposed move to compel oil companies to establish operational and administrative offices in the Niger Delta area where they engage in exploration and exploitation.
Lawmakers at plenary engaged in a heated debate on the issue with proponents arguing that the companies be compelled to comply in the interest of the country while others opposed on the ground that the constitution allows free movement of persons or services.
Supporting the motion, Mr. Anayo Anebe (PDP, Anambra), these companies administrative offices should be located in the host communities because that is where the resources they are using to stay in business are.
“The motion is for the interest of Nigeria. Citing the rule of business engagement, administrative offices should be sited in the region where they collect their raw materials for production”, said Mr. Kamale Adamu.
On the contrary, the House leader, Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos) argued that it is not right to direct companies to relocate to where they are not ready to move to.
“It is very important to look at this issue very seriously to distinguish between operational and administrative offices”, said Gbajabiamila.
Opposing the motion also, Mr. Jide Jimoh (APC, Lagos) advised that issues which are of this importance should not be sentimental or parochial.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara on his part, explained that “as a business man he can not be forced to site his business where is not safe”.
The House after further debate, voted against the motion through majority voice vote.
Mr. Opiah Nanah (PDP, Imo) had sponsored the motion entitled “Calling oil companies to establish operational and administrative offices in the Niger delta area where they engage in exploration and exploitation”.
According to him, if no urgent action is taken, the problem will defeat the efforts of the government to ensure peace in the Niger Delta and peaceful coexistence between the host communities and the oil companies.