Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State will in two weeks, meet with the managements of Shell Petroleum, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) and other relevant stakeholders over planned relocation of the Supply Base of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) from the Oil and Gas Free Zone, Onne, Rivers State to Lagos.
The meeting is coming on the heels of an aborted planned protest by the Rivers State Youth Federation.
Currently, several groups including youths and women group in Rivers State have staged peaceful protests to express their displeasure over the planned relocation of the SNEPCO Supply Base from Onne, based on its adverse economic and security implications on the state and the entire Niger Delta region.
On Wednesday, the Directorate of State Security (DSS) in Rivers State, together with a former Niger Delta warlord and the Amanyanabo of Okochiri Kingdom in Okirika Local Government Area of Rivers State, King Ateke Tom intervened in the matter and stopped a massive protest planned by the Rivers State Youth Federation led by its President, Saviour Patrick.
To forestall a breakdown of law and order, Ateke Tom and the Rivers State DSS director held a meeting with Patrick and representatives of SNEPCO, where it was agreed that the youths would shelve their planned protest while SNEPCO would suspend the planned relocation until after the meeting with Wike.
Sources at the meeting told newsmen that both the DSS and the Rivers State Government are concerned about the long term security implication for the state should the relocation to Lagos be executed.
The source said, “The youths are upset although the DSS director expressed worry that the situation may degenerate into renewed militant activities in the state.”
The source added that this would not be the first time Shell had attempted to relocate its business from Rivers State. He hinted that Shell’s decision was likely more political than commercial.
Also, the Paramount Ruler of Onne Community, King John Dennis Osaronu, who condmned the relocation, called on SNEPCO to rescind its planned relocation from the community.
“This move by SNEPCO has serious and far-reaching implications for the Onne community and indeed the entire Rivers State. This is because SNEPCO, which is the operator of the Bonga field, at present, supports more than 5,000 direct and indirect jobs at its Supply Base in Onne. There are also several small businesses and contractors whose businesses and fortunes are tied to SNEPCO.”
Recall that in August, more than 1,000 youths under the aegis of the Onne Youths Council (OYC) staged a peaceful protest at the SNEPCO Supply Base, asking the company to rescind its decision to relocate the base from the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone to Lagos port.
The President of OYC, Philip John Tenwa, who led the peaceful protest, said the planned relocation would lead to the loss of more than 5,000 direct and indirect jobs.