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FAAN Relocation To Lagos: Tinubu Should Direct NNPCL, Subsidiaries, Industry Regulators To Relocate Headquarters To Warri Now

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FAAN Relocation To Lagos: Tinubu Should Direct NNPCL, Subsidiaries, Industry Regulators To Relocate Headquarters to Warri Now

Obiageli Oprah (Mrs), Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has given justifications why FAAN has been relocated from Abuja base to its original Lagos base, based on due consultation with stakeholders.

I believe this development provides undeniable justification for President Bola Tinubu to fulfill the lingering agitation for relocation of NNPCL, its subsidiaries, industry regulators and all operating oil and gas firms to have all headquarters sited in Warri, Delta state now.

Among the genuine justifications in the FAAN experience, aside the fact that Abuja Office has inadequate space to accommodate the FAAN personnel, Lagos served as the head office of FAAN for decades till recently when it was moved to Abuja by dirty federal politics.

Aside Lagos having wider operational airports facilities and buildings to accommodate FAAN personnel than Abuja, the Aviation business in Lagos is far bigger than what obtains in Abuja. Aviation business is more active in Lagos than Abuja, no doubt about it.

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It’s no surprise that ethnic bias was involved in the relocation of FAAN head office from Abuja to Lagos, same prejudice that has ensured that all other critical sectors head offices of government owned companies were not relocated to where they carry out their core business and operations.

When Olusegun Obasanjo was elected President in 1999, his first major assignment was the relocation of Nigerian Ports Authorities (NPA) from Abuja NPA Ship House, now occupied by the Defence Headquarters, also known as Defence Ship House, from Abuja to Lagos, justifying that Abuja has no marine activities hence NPA Lagos was the busiest in marine and ports operations.

Now Tinubu, another Yoruba man has relocated FAAN headquarters to Lagos which has the busiest Airport in Nigeria, no doubt about it. But the basic question remains, why did Obasanjo not relocate NNPC LTD, its subsidiaries, oil and gas industry regulators to Warri in Delta that has robust active presence of oil, gas, condensate Exploration & Production, Upstream and Downstream operations and activities?

Crude oil export takes place in the South South oil terminals, more in Warri area and the popular SNEPCO Bongo field that is 120km South West of Warri, informing the branding of Warri as Oil City in the good old days.

What business does NNPCL, its subsidiaries and regulators do in Abuja and Lagos, their personnel always flying from Lagos and Abuja to Warri for field operations? The major operations of oil & gas companies take place in the South South Region, in Warri.

NAPIMS, now known as NUIMS, NUPRC, formerly known as DPR have been in Lagos and Abuja. What stops Tinubu who doubles as Minister of Petroleum Resources from now righting the wrong of the past and rightly direct the relocation of NNPCL and its subsidiaries to Warri?

Warri has more than enough office facilities and residential areas given up by Shell through divestment to now accommodate all of NNPCL, its subsidiaries and regulating agencies personnel.

Obasanjo relocated NPA headquarters to Lagos and I wrote many open letters to advise him to direct the NNPCL and subsidiaries to relocate to Warri. He ignored my advice because the status quo benefits Yoruba people for as long as head offices of NUPRC and NNPC UPSTREAM INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES, NUIMS remain in Lagos.

Double standard has been applied by Obasanjo and Tinubu in the relocation of headquarters of federal parastatals to supposed appropriate places their operations and businesses are taking place.

In past justifications for advocating mandatory location of oil companies head offices in Nigeria to the operating environment; I had mentioned that all oil companies in US have their head offices in Houston Texas and Louisiana. Austin is the capital of Texas state but the oil companies and head offices are not in Austin City or Washington DC, the US capital and New York City, the business headquarters of US.

Calgary in Alberta Province is the hub of oil companies in Canada and so these companies head offices are not in Edmonton City which is the capital of Alberta Province, not to talk of being in Ottawa which is the capital of Canada and Toronto which is the business capital of Canada.

In Nigeria everything is politicised and ethnicity attached. I appeal to Tinubu to relocate NNPCL, NUPRC, NUIMS and other NNPCL subsidiaries to Warri without further delay. We hear rumours of Tinubu wanting to relocate some Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s departments to Lagos. NNPCL and its subsidiaries have no business being run from Abuja and Lagos.

Nigerian indigenous oil companies and the IOCs will relocate to Warri if the NNPCL and regulators are relocated. Tinubu should stop the double standard and move NNPCL, subsidiaries and regulators to Warri.

What and who are they supervising and regulating in Abuja and Lagos in the oil and gas sector?

Zik Gbemre

January 20th, 2024

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