Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has assured stakeholders in the oil and gas sector that the National Assembly will ensure that all available legislative tools are deployed to ensure that there is transparency, fairness, investment security and due process in all Joint Venture Agreements and other business transactions in the sector.
He also stated that the House of Representatives will also be diligent in monitoring local and foreign investors in the sector to ensure that they implement their corporate social responsibility while doing business in the country.
The speaker made these statements at the National Assembly while making remarks at an investigative hearing organised by the House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) on the need for Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), to return its Western Operational Headquarters to Warri, Delta State.
Speaking on the purpose of the hearing, he explained that investigation is not a witch-hunt, but a fact-finding exercise that would enable the parliament to arrive at fair and credible decisions in the best interest of all parties concerned.
He said, “You will all recall that on Thursday, 5th July, 2018, the House deliberated on a motion on the Need for Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to return its Western Operational Headquarters to Warri, Delta State. By resolution, the House mandated the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) to investigate the matter and report its findings to the House for further legislative action.
“The genesis of this issue was the decision by the Management of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in 2013 to move its Western Operational Headquarters from Warri to Lagos, due to alleged hostility against the company in Warri. The company claimed that the situation was adversely affecting the effectiveness of its operations in the region.
“On their own part, the host communities are averse to the relocation of SPDC Western Headquarters from Warri. This is because, as we all know, the area is the source of the oil, and that is where SPDC and other multinational companies are engaged in the actual drilling operations.
“It is common knowledge that the oil exploitation activities take their devastating tolls on the environment as well as the health and the economic life of the people of the oil producing communities. It is believed that the return of the headquarters of SPDC to Warri will ensure that the expected Corporate Social Responsibility and interface, which the region should enjoy from the company, will be better achieved.
“According to the account given to the House of Representatives, efforts have been made by the people of the host communities, Delta State Government and other stakeholders to persuade SPDC to effect the return of its Western Operational Headquarters to Warri to no avail. This Investigative Hearing is expected to unearth all issues surrounding this subject matter, so that the House can be guided to take an informed position on it.
“May I seize this opportunity to assure the host communities, the Management of SPDC, all stakeholders and the entire nation that the House of Representatives will employ all available legislative means to ensure transparency, fairness, investment security and due process in all our Joint Venture Agreements and other business transactions in the Oil and Gas Sector. The Oil Sector is the backbone of our economy, and we will do our best to ensure the smooth running of the Sector. Furthermore, we will continue to insist that all local and foreign investors in the country manage their businesses with due Corporate Social Responsibility in view. “