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Lawyer dismisses negative comments on Warri, Lagos, Brass OGFZs

A Lawyer, 
Mr  Iyobosa Egerin has described
insinuations making the rounds that the Warri, Lagos, Brass Oil and Gas Free
Zones were illegal establishments as “cruel, unfortunate, misleading and
disheartening.’’

Speaking to newsmen in Lagos on the side-line
of Labour Day celebrations, Egerin said he was disappointed that such
insinuations were now being published in the media.

He said he was disappointed with the
latest publication coming from a law lecturer at the University of Lagos, Dr. Amokaye
Oludayo, whose exclusive interview was published by the Nation Newspapers on
April 20, 2016.

Egerin said that the insinuations have
negatively impacted on the morale of workers in the OGFZs as they believed that
would be thrown out of their jobs soon.

He added that such observation informed
his decision to reach out to the public with the necessary information to
counter the media-bashing being sponsored by some stakeholders in the maritime
industry.

Egerin said: “My immediate reaction to the
publication was to ignore it and just regard it as the continued campaign of
calumny against Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) by some stakeholders
for their selfish business interest as against the overall interest of Nigeria.’’

“However, considering the negative impact
such publications would have on the unsuspecting reading public, I have decided
to respond to the said publication in order to keep the records straight.

“Without mincing words, I will like to
state that the insinuations and publications are vexatious, offensive and
completely untrue,’’ he said.

Egerin said that if Oludayo and others
were not deliberately inclined to deceive both the Federal Government and
Nigerians as a whole in their public pronouncements concerning the OGFZs, they
would know that the “law setting up the OGFZA gave it the statutory power to license
oil and gas free zone.’’

Egerin said that instead of acting like
paid agent, the commentators should know that the law “empowers OGFZA to take
over and perform such other functions being hitherto performed by the Nigeria
Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) as they relate to oil and gas
activities from any of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones.

“The unambiguous implications of the law
setting up OGFZA is that the legislature has expressly limited the functions of
NEPZA over all export processing zones by virtue of the oil and gas free zones
act,’’ he said.

Egerin said that anybody who had doubts
concerning the establishment and operations of the three OGFZs should do a bit
of research or be more thorough in their work, before making public
pronouncement.

“If they do, they will realize that the
oil and gas free zone, Warri, the Eko Support Oil and Gas Free Zone, Apapa,
Lagos and the Brass oil and gas free zones went through the gamut of due
process and diligence.

“I have confirmed that these oil and gas
free zones went through the whole gamut of due process and diligence from the
applications through the ministerial recommendations and culminating in the Presidential
approval gazetted by the Federal Government,’’ he said.

He called on stakeholders and commentators
who have issues with the establishment of oil and gas free zones to visit the
office of the OGFZA to seek clarifications on grounds that their assumptions
and uninformed positions and posture have huge negative financial implications
to the Federal Government.

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