– Give them tax holiday
– However, indigenes must take up task of industrializing the region
By Codratus Godosn
A suggestion has been made on how to attract fleeing oil majors back to the Niger Delta. This is as a youth leader has asked militants to camp against poverty, not camp for violence that scares away investors.
This was contained in goodwill message by the leadership of the major youth body in Ijaw in the Niger Delta region who called for tax incentives to attract companies to the oil region. The call was made in the face of the refusal of oil corporations to heed the call of the then acting President, now vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, for the oil majors to set up headquarters in the oil region.
The secretary-general of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Comrade Alfred Kemekpado, who made the call when ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo visited Bayelsa State recently however urged indigenous investors to take up the gauntlet of industrializing the oil region instead of endlessly waiting for the fleeing oil majors to return.
The IYC secretary thus commended the Azikel Group for starting Nigeria’s second private refinery after that of Dangote, saying it was such effort that needed support. Kemekpado admonished the people of the oil region thus: “Cry not for return of industries because nobody will develop your area for you. Let our people (investors) come and do it.”
The IYC also urged the so-called militants to stop creating militant camps but to create economic camps. On the foundation stone of the Azikel Refinery complex being laid by Olusegun and other important dignitaries in Obuna, Gbarain kingdom in Bayelsa State, the comrade aid: “This is a great day in IYC. Our motto is Resource Control by all Means possible; it has been misappropriated. This is the real meaning of our slogan.”
He went on: “We are aware that from economic power, one can gain political power. We urge the authorities to develop Nigeria from oil regions; this way a region can boost its annual budgets. Militants should militate against poverty instead of building camps, build industries. Security from economic point is the best. FG should deploy good policies to create real security.”
Speaking, senator representing Bayelsa Central, Paulker Emmanuel, lamented absence of the indigenes in the apex of oil in our land. “Azikel is in the right direction. Refining has been problematic, you gave license but not many have be a success.”
He called attention to the fact that the FG was taking the flare tax but communities suffered the effect.
The senator observed that subsidy scares private sector investors in refinery business. “FG should give total deregulation but should check price exploitation. This is how to encourage the likes of Azikel because oil industry is an international one.”
The Ibenanowei of Gbarain Kingdom, the king, Funpere Akah, however warned the youths against pestering investors coming to his kingdom. “I am a very happy king today because this is the 4th company to locate to my kingdom in my time. This is a very peaceful kingdom. Give investors a chance. Do not pester them with requests. Let us give Azikel a chance to develop us. If investors go away with their projects, what will we do. I feel like dancing right now. We hear power is also coming.”
Another youth leader from the community, Pere Kumba; said: “No more fighting, stealing, etc. If FG wants to empower anybody, see Azikel. He can carry everybody along.”
Gov Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State who led other important leaders including Obasanjo assured that the refinery project would not be disrupted on account of insecurity. He was supported by Obasanjo who observed the relative peace and stability in Bayelsa State over a period of time and urged investors to feel free to come to the state. He said he would no longer travel abroad for regular medical checkups because of the kind of equipment he said he saw in the state capital.