The Federal Government has told South-South states that multinational oil companies would not relocate their Headquarters to the Niger Delta because peace cannot be guaranteed.
The government said if the place remained insecure, investment would continue to be elusive as no oil company would agree to go there.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, stated this in his speech obtained by journalists on Sunday in Abuja delivered after his induction as patron and conferment of the peace ambassadors award on him by the Niger Delta Non-Violence Agitators Forum.
Sylva enjoined Niger Deltans to remain steadfast in bringing peace to the oil-producing areas.
He said, “What I must say here is that the core of your organisation is non-violence and that is actually the essence of what we want in Nigeria.
“We must bring peace to the Niger Delta. It’s our duty to bring peace to the Niger Delta. Sometimes, we are worried that investment opportunities are not coming to the Niger Delta. But we must realize that it’s our activities that will determine whether these opportunities will come or not.
“Right now, we are saying that oil companies must move their Headquarters to the Niger Delta. But it’s our duty to ensure that the place is peaceful enough for the oil companies to move back there. If the place is insecure, you will actually believe that no oil company will agree to go there.
“That is why this organization is really very important in the Niger Delta. That’s why we must begin to also encourage those of you who are committed to making peace and only trying to assuage those who are making trouble. So I am really happy to be associated with this organization.
“What we need in the Niger Delta more than anything else right now is peace and I believe that if there is peace in the Niger Delta there will be prosperity. No investor would want to operate from far if there is peace because it actually cost him more, operating from a distance. So for us, I believe that if we can bring peace to the Niger Delta, these investors will not talk much.”
Sylva recommended that other organizations should emulate what NDNAF was doing to propagate the message of peace
“Just as you have brought that message to me, I want to assure you that from today, I will also be an advocate of the NDNAF,” the Minister said.