AGIP: Conspiracy of A Multinational Coy.

AGIP: Conspiracy of A Multinational Coy.

By:Idumange John

The classical view which has gained wide acceptance is that the primary aim of multi-national oil corporation is to exploit their host communities without
putting back anything in return. Thus while the corporations mine crude oil and
gas over the most inhuman conditions that create no room for carrying out their
corporate social responsibilities, they operate under very favorable legal
regimes that empower them to pollute the environment and render the host
communities poorer and helpless. Most often, they leave in their trail massive
economic dislocation, conflict and social instability.

In Ghana, the multinationals exploited gold through the Obuasi Gold Fields and after about three decades of reckless miming of the resource, abandoned Ghana
to the most depraved and vile form of wretchedness and stagnation. The Ghanaian
economy has not fully recaptured its vitality and vigour in spite of the
surgical operation of the former President Rawlings.

In Angola and Congo Democratic Republic, multinational corporations aggravated the civil
strife by encouraging their collaborators to buy stolen diamond and gold. Some
over zealous multinationals even meddle in local politics as in the case of SPDC
in Ogoni land. In extreme cases, some of them engaged in fifth column
activities, sabotage, money laundering and gun-running as characteristics of
predatory capitalism.

In the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria, while the oil majors declare fantastic profits and repatriate them without re-investing the surplus capital, they
throw the crumbs under the guise of community development; and in extreme cases
incite mayhem through the implementation of policies that exclude key
stakeholders in the Region. In fact re-investing the surplus capital or running
an all-inclusive multi-stakeholder management is an anathema to the

The Azienda Generale Italian Petroli or AGIP was founded in 1926 to produce hydrocarbon in Northern
Italy. The firm was invited by the Federal Government in 1962 and
formed the ENI GROUP, and since
1969, most of her activities are marked by impurity in dealing with her host
communities. The oil mining activities of the Agip are sustained by two States
namely: Rivers and Bayelsa
States, but these States
have not benefited optimally from Agip in terms of employment, contracts and
physical presence.

Agip is still involved in practices such as casualization of workers in order to pay them slavish wages and most of the victims are from the NDR. The people are also not in a hurry to forget
about the brigandage, mayhem and havoc wrecked by Agip in Umuchem, Ologbobiri,
Etiema, Okoroba, Agrisaba, Ekibiri and other communities where oil spillage
related matters were allowed to degenerate to avoidable conflicts and
blood-bath. It is repugnant to note that since the occurrence of those ugly
events, neither the attitude of the company nor her host-community engagement
strategy has changed for the better. Over the years Agip has not mustered up
the goodwill to open an office Yenagoa – capital of Bayelsa State.
Even the Brass Liquefied Natural Gas Project (LNG) has an office in Abuja, and there
is not a semblance of an office in Yenagoa. only short-changed the interest of
the core oil producing people, but demonstrated a very poor concept of
corporate social responsibility. Such
perceptions had in the past fueled crisis in oil bearing communities.

The Nigerian Agip Oil Company Ltd has three subsidiaries namely: Nigerian Agip Oil Company, Agip Energy, and Nigerian Agip
Exploration Limited - all of them belong to the Eni Group. ENI GROUP is the
parent company which operates in Land and Swamp. ENI GROUP has four (4) Oil
blocs namely: Oil Mining License OML 60, 61, 62 & 63 OML 60 basically
operates on land and most of OML 60 is in the Kwale area of Delta State.
OML 61 and 62 operates mainly in Bayelsa
State in Obama and
Tebidaba flow, while OML 63 is situated in Bayelsa and Delta state specially
the Burutu area. ENI GROUP has its swamp Headquarters at Brass while its land
headquarters is in Obiafu/Obrikom near Omoku in Rivers State.

Agip Energy operates in shallow offshore usually in locations in locations with water depth that is shallower than 200 meters. AE has two (2) oil blocs all of
which are in Bayelsa
State. The third
subsidiary is Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, which operations fall within
water depths more that200 meters to the abyss operates 5 blocs but presently
only one bloc, OML 125 is currently put into production. It is worthy to
mention here that the has oil all the
blocks are close to Warri and not Lagos as may be claimed by some people who
are bent on moving the headquarters to Lagos. The oil blocs OML 120, 121, 125, 134
and while OPL 244 is in the deep offshore Bayelsa.

Agip has no physical presence in Bayelsa State. In fact, the
company cannot even honour the State with a functional office. Sadly, the
headquarters of Agip in Port Harcourt is at the
point of been taken away to Lagos.
Why is the Eni Group treating the host States with such contempt and grave
injustice? For how long will the people of the Region suffer injustice, neglect
and marginalization? Why is the misery index in the Region alarming in spite of
government pronouncements about alleviating the plight of the people?

The grand conspiracy has been to cause confusion among host communities in the Niger Delta Region through brazen neglect of Corporate Social Responsibility
and interference in domestic politics, headquarters of Agip to Lagos. The logic is that
NAEP operates offshore hence the blocs could be assessed from Lagos. The rationale is that since offshore
oil wells are hardly accessible to the youths, NAEP will exploit the oil even
without employing Niger Delta people. The second factor used to rationalize the
movement of the administrative Headquarters is the prevailing atmosphere of
youth militancy in the Niger Delta Area. However, the truism is that the
General Manager of Agip and other principal officers are all non-indigenes. So there
is a grand conspiracy to frustrate the Niger Delta people the same way Obasanjo
and Funso Kukpolokun the former GMD of NNPC conspired to frustrate the Brass
LNG Project. Ex-President Obasanjo and Kukpolokun implemented this
conspiratorial act by adopting three strategies.

The Obasanjo administration persuaded Chevron to pull out by withdrawing its equity in the Brass LNG and moved it to Olokola (OK) LNG in Ogun
State, which was designed to pipe gas
from Delta State
because Ogun State has no gas. Moreover, the Federal Government promptly
signed and sealed the Final Investment Decision (FDI) of the OKE LNG while that
of Brass which started more than a decade ago was not sealed.

The Federal Government made an orchestrated move to establish the administrative headquarter of Brass LNG in Lagos
and inundated the Board of Directors with Yoruba people including the Personnel
Manager. Up to date it is difficult to identify any person from Brass holding
any strategic position. Yenagoa capital of Bayelsa State
does not even have a liaison office. The question is what is Governor Timipre
Sylva thinking when the State is being short-changed? President Jonathan and
the Minister of Petroleum Resources should show more than a passing interest in
the activities of AGIP in Bayelsa State. They should take a cue from President
Obama, who made about half a dozen visits to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill site
in less than 10 weeks.

The gang-up and grand conspiracy is not new. At independence, more than 75% of the companies in Nigeria had
their headquarters in Lagos.
It was they who deleted the derivation formula from the lexicon of revenue
allocation. In the early 1970’s, the
Lagos-Ibadan Express Way
was awarded at the same time with the Yenagoa-Kolo-Nembe-Brass Road. While
the Lagos-Ibadan Express Way
was promptly completed and tarred more than seven times, that of the Yenagoa Kolo-Nembe-Brass Road
was abandoned, and up to date, the project is on the drawing board. This a
classic case of resource curse and oil doom. The members of the National Assembly
representing the area have not brought such matters for debate; as they are
more after their pocket interest.

The consensus is that most host communities are not benefiting optimally from Agip’s community development initiatives as evidenced in the haphazard manner
in which Memoranda of Understanding MOUs are implemented. When that conspiracy
is executed, the host communities are denied the opportunity of leveraging
private businesses that could lead to self-employment. If the hegemons
in Agip feel that the NAE have been moved to Lagos
because of insecurity. President Jonathan should reverse this trend through the
Petroleum Ministry. The rehabilitation of a handful of militants under the
Amnesty Programme is just a palliative, and the strategy being adopted by the
Timi Alaibe Committee can only raise a new band of militants in the Region, in
the foreseeable future. There is more to be done.

Idumange John, wrote from Yenagoa

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