Ijaw youth decry oil blocs allotted to politicians outside Niger Delta
16 Aug 2017
Ijaw youths have decried the allotment of oil blocs to politicians and businessmen outside the Niger Delta region; and have also picked hole in the word “Host Communities” whereas the people do not derive any benefit from the black gold in their backyard, just as they reject the federal government’s offer of two modular refineries per state.
The Ijaw youths averred that two modular refineries were unacceptable; and that it was not capable of stopping oil theft in the region.
The youths under the Ijaw Youth council (IYC) worldwide, also called for the relaxation of the preconditions for getting licences for operating the facilities, noting that the terms were capable of taking the establishment of the refineries beyond the reach Niger Delta people.
President of the IYC, Mr. Oweilaemi Pereotubo, who briefed the press at the Ijaw House, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, insisted that two modular refineries per state were ‘grossly inadequate’ and would not stop illegal oil bunkering.
Flanked by other exco members, Pereotubo also argued that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s statement that the Niger Delta states would ‘host’ the refineries was ambiguous.
He explained that using the word ‘host’ was synonymous with what currently obtained where oil blocs were given to all sorts of people outside the region, whereas the Niger Delta was only acting as hosts without benefits.
“I am not aware that we have up to two Ijaw sons with oil blocs, yet, we have oil. People who own them do not know the colour of crude oil.
“The federal government must give Niger Delta people oil blocs”, the youth leader said.
He declared that the federal government must ensure that modular refineries were owned, managed and operated by the Niger Delta people.
“The Acting President has said each state will host two modular refineries. The active word there is ‘host’. We do not know what the Acting President means by hosting.
“Does ‘host’ mean ownership or control. We don’t know. We want to own and operate modular refineries. What is hosting? It means you will give a licencse to somebody outside Niger Delta to have modular refineries in the Niger Delta, and we will simply host. It’s ambiguous. He should expatiate.
“What two modular refineries is unacceptable and grossly inadequate, we will not take it, we will not allow it”, he declared.
The youths also issued a 90 days ultimatum to International Oil Companies operation in the Niger Delta to comply with federal government directive to relocate their headquarters to the region.
While calling on Prof. Osinbajo to be stern in implementing the directive, the IYC said: “We cannot continue to pay the price of having our land suffer from oil exploration activities while other states benefit from the taxes that are due us”.
The IYC also called for the remediation of the degradation of lands belonging to host communities, demilitarization of the Niger Delta, improvement in infrastructural development and a return to true federalism.
“The federal system practice in Nigeria is largely faulty, We call on the government, particularly the National Assembly to revisit the laws of resource ownership and the overall restructuring of the Nigerian state”, the group said.
“You are all aware that not too long the Acting President, Yemi Osibanjo had asked all IOCs to relocate their headquarters to the area they producing the oil, but as we speak, the companies have no way to comply with the directive.
The IYC President said, it is a ruse to say that the region is not the safe for business, pockets of criminal activities may occur as obtainable in other states, but we restates that our environment is safe and very conducive for business.
“The 90 days ultimatum started July 12 and in no distance time the 90
days will elapse, so, we want immediate compliance with the federal government directive,” the President stated.
On infrastructural development, the IYC President decried the slow pace in the region and urged the federal government to expedite work on the completion of the East-west road, Trans-Atlantic road and rail-line, Bonny LNG train 7, Brass LNG project, Agge Deep Seaport, export processing zone at Ogidigbien, Deep Seaport, Gbaramatu among others, particularly ownership and the overall restructuring of the Nigerian state.