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.