Atala Oil Field: Ijaw stakeholders raise fresh posers over licence revocation
• Want Court Order Halting Issuance Of Marginal Oil Field Licences Obeyed
Concerned Ijaw stakeholders have called on the Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, to as a matter of urgency give an update on the revocation and subsequent re-allocation of Atala oil field for the sake of posterity.
This was even as a coalition of Ijaw interest groups has called on the Federal Government to abide by the ruling of the Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, which granted an injunction restraining it from taking further action on the award of marginal oil licences pending the conclusion of the suit before it.
The stakeholders comprising the Ijaw Elders Forum (IEF), the Ijaw Nation Forum, Embasara Foundation, Ijaw Professionals Association as well as the Ijaw Women Connect (IWC), decried the seeming complacency of the authorities concerned over the matter.
In a statement signed by Pastor Efiye Bribena of the IEF on behalf of the groups, they urged the governor to immediately constitute a special committee to unravel the truth about the matter, reminding him that “future generations of Bayelsans will hold us accountable for the losses and for our stewardship, especially for not taking action to protect or recover state assets.”
“It is for this reason that we had suggested and will like to remind you of the recommendations we made in our earlier letter to your Excellency to institute a competent public inquiry to unravel the whole truth on the matter and make public its findings and recommendations and also take other appropriate legal action, including sanctions where deserving,” the groups stated.
They explained that their concern followed months of intrigues and hide and seek that have been trailing the controversy surrounding the alleged sales of the oil field.
The groups, therefore, charged the Ijaw National Congress (INC) to release the findings of the investigative committee on the matter.
The Bayelsa State exploration licence for Atala oil field had been allegedly revoked in a controversial circumstance during the tenure of the immediate past administration of former governor Henry Dickson Seriake, and the issue is still raising dust.
A concerned High Chief, Philip Brown Agu and two others, on behalf of themselves and Ijaw ethnic nationality had in a suit no: FHC/YNG/CS/81/2020 dated November 11, 2020, prayed the Federal High Court to, among other things, restrain the Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Federal Government from giving out/approving licences in respect of marginal fields listed pending the hearing and determination of the case.
Ruling on the matter, recently, the presiding judge, Justice Isa H. Dashen, ordered the defendant to restrain “from giving out/approving licences in respect of marginal fields listed pending the hearing and determination of this suit.”
In a swift reaction, yesterday, the Secretary of the IEF, Bribena, on behalf of the coalition groups, urged the parties involved to abide by the ruling of the court.
“It is our expectation that all citizens and corporate organisations abide by this ruling,” it stated.