By Our Correspondent
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), yesterday, condemned the Federal Government for cancelling Oil Prospecting Licences (OPL) 2001, 2002 and 2003 awarded to companies owned by Niger Delta indigenes in spite of a court order restraining it from carrying out such action.
Speaking through its National Chairman on Strategy, Planning and Program, Comrade Isreal Fubara, the IYC while accusing the Federal Government of reawarding the OPL to another company through the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) expressed fears that such actions was capable of re-igniting chaos in the Niger Delta region.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Yenagoa, Fubara gave the names of the Niger Delta investors that were affected by the cancellation as Jahcon International Limited, Hi Rev Exploration, Production Limited and Oil and Industrial Services Limited.
The statement further explained that after the investors won the bids for the blocs in 2007, the bid round was stalled for eight years by litigation until it was resolved amicably in 2015, and that after the resolution, the DPR handed offers of OPLs 2001, 2002 and 2003 to Jahcon International Limited, Hi Rev Exploration and Production Limited and Oil and Industrial Services Limited, respectively.
He noted that although the court had directed all parties to stay action with respect to working on the field, officials of the National Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) recently made moves to commence activities on the field.
Parts of the statement also read: “this is an act which is completely unacceptable under any form of government, especially in a democratic setting. This has again been demonstrated by the actions of a multinational company in the the sites of OPL 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. The name of this company is Sterling Global.
“While we have been watching with keen interest and patience the battle in court for the just claims of some companies, it is very provocative that sterling global has decided to defy court orders and undermining the very legal process upon which our hopes and patience are built.
“We have noted that sterling global in clear disrespect for the principles of fairness has attempted to claim oil fields that have been legally won in fair bids by other companies after which required payments have been made.
“That sterling global In defiance for the laws of this country and in contempt of the court process has begun operational activities in those sites inspite of standing court orders that the status quo be maintained. Report available to us even suggest that the activities of the sterling global is been done with the support of DPR.
“Apart from the fact that the actions of sterling global are apparently provocative, illegal and contemptuous, it raises in our minds to few questions that border on social justice and the existential rights of the Niger Delta in Nigeria. We notice that only companies owned by Niger Delta sons have suffered cancellation of oil bloc allocation.
“If not so, why is the contract rights of a company be upturned at the whim and caprices of a few Government officials in clear contradiction to the contract laws of Nigeria as well as to the principles of a free market economy?
“In the absence of valid answers to our questions our tentative conclusion to these questions is that once a matter is connected to people in the Niger Delta it can easily be turned upside down since we are mistakenly considered as been a minority people who are only entitled to lesser rights in the Nigerian state.
“We make bold to state that if the persons who won the bids were from some sections of the country it would have been difficult for the government to reverse the licenses. We therefore demand that the relevant authorities stop, with immediate effect, the activities of Sterling Global in OPL 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 with immediate effect.”