THE Itsekiri ethnic nationality in Delta has decried what it called its marginalization in the current bidding process for the 57 Marginal Fields by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
They expressed their grievance in Ode-Ugborodo, Escravos, Warri South-West Local Government Area (LGA), of Delta, in a statement, after a peaceful protest on Monday.
They tagged the protest “Movement for the Development of Itsekiri Oil and Gas Producing Communities’ (MDIOGPC)”.
The statement was issued by the convener of the protest, Mr Isaac Botosan.
The group threatened to cripple operations of the Oil and Gas companies operating in their homeland, if the Federal Government refused to halt the current biding process of the 57 marginal fields, and subsequently initiate new modalities.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the protesters held placards with different inscriptions like: “We need our share of the marginal fields in our locality, DPR take note,” and “Competent companies owned by Itsekiris must be given first right of refusal”.
Botosan in the statement, condemned the alleged protracted marginalisation of the Itsekiri nation, particularly in the areas of project execution, employment opportunities, infrastructure development, among others; and urged government to address the issues.
He also urged the Federal Government to initiate new modalities where competent companies owned by Itsekiri indigenous people would be given “right of first refusal” on Fields in their homeland before considering outsiders.
“We can no longer continue to sit and watch non-indigenes being offered Oil Mining Licenses in our homeland when we have capable Itsekiri people whose firms are qualified, but repeatedly denied such licenses,” Botosan said.
According to him, the Itsekiri, as a law abiding ethnic nationality, committed to the sustainable peace, growth and development of the Nigerian project, understands perfectly the effect of the COVID-19 on the economy.
“We are equally not unmindful of the teething security challenges the Federal Government is confronting headlong across the country, especially in the North East.
“But, we are, however, constrained to ventilate our frustration regarding the brazen and worsening marginalisation, staring at our face daily by those in charge of managing affairs in the Oil and Gas Sector.
“The marginalisation is clearly evident in a manner that the Multi-Billion Dollar Gas Revolution Industrial Park Project in Ogidigben and Deepsea Port in Warri South-West LGA, have been abandoned.
“The age-long Omadino-Escravos Road, expected to connect the coastal communities in Warri South and Warri South-West LGAs, have remained abandoned till date,” he said.
Botosan, therefore, urged the Federal Government to direct MDAs/IOCs to embark on large scale shore protection/sand-filling projects in Itsekiri riverine/oil producing communities.
He also urged the government to institute a process for the facilitation of the abandoned age-long Omadino-Escravos Road.
One of the protesters, Mrs Taye Mene, who spoke on behalf of the Itsekiri Women Omadinor-Escravos Federated Communities, said the people were suffering as a result of the consequences of oil explorations in their homeland.
NAN reports that the Ijaws in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South-West, on Sunday carried out a similar protest, calling on the Federal Government to give its people right of first refusal in the bids for the marginal fields. (NAN)
– Jul. 6, 2020 @ 11:39 GMT |