A legal practitioner, Mr Iyobosa Egerin, said on Monday that the law setting up the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) gave it the statutory power to license oil and gas free zones.
Egerin stated this while speaking with newsmen on Monday in Lagos.
He decried reports in some national dailies that Warri, Lagos, Brass Oil and Gas Free Zones were illegal establishments, saying that such reports were “misleading’’.
He said that the reports had negatively impacted on the morale of workers in the OGFZs as the workers believed they would be thrown out of their jobs soon.
“My immediate reaction to the publications 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 publications in order to keep the records straight.
“Without mincing words, I will like to state that the publications are completely untrue,’’ he said.
Egerin said 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 implication 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 doubt concerning the establishment and operations of the three OGFZs should do a little bit of research or be more thorough in his work, before making public pronouncement.
“If they do, they will realise 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 Zone 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,’’ he said.
Egerin said that this culminated in the Presidential approval gazetted by the Federal Government.
He urged stakeholders and commentators who had issues with the establishment of oil and gas free zones to visit the office of the OGFZA to seek clarifications based onn the financial implications on the economy. (NAN)