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IYC threatens showdown with FG over cancellation of oil blocs

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Oil well. Photo: AFP

The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) has threatened showdown with the Federal Government for cancelling Oil Prospecting Licences (OPL) 2001, 2002 and 2003 awarded to companies associated with Niger Delta indigenes despite a court order restraining it from doing so.

A statement issued in Yanagoa by its National Chairman, Strategy, Planning and Programmes, Comrade Israel Fubara, the IYC accused the Federal Government of re-awarding the OPL to another company through the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

Fubara, who expressed concern that the action was capable of causing fresh crisis in the Niger Delta region, listed Jahcon International Limited, Hi Rev Exploration, Production Limited and Oil and Industrial Services Limited, as Niger Delta investors affected by the cancellation of the oil blocs.

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He explained that after the investors won the bids for the blocs in 2007, the bid round was stalled for eight years due to litigation until it was resolved in 2015, adding that after the resolution, the DPR handed the offers of OPLs 2001, 2002 and 2003 to the firms.

He said although the court had directed all parties to refrain from working on the field, officials of the National Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) recently attempted to begin activities on the field.

“This is unacceptable under any government, especially in a democratic setting. This has again been demonstrated by the actions of Sterling Global, a multinational company in the OPL 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.

“While we have been watching with keen interest and patience, it is provocative that Sterling Global has decided to defy court orders and undermine the legal process upon which our hopes and patience are built,” the statement added.

The IYC also accused the Federal Government of colluding with the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to undermine and under-develop the Niger Delta region.

National Spokesman of IYC, Ebilade Erekefe, said this after a visit to areas affected by oil spills at Sangana and Akassa Clan in Brass Council of Bayelsa State.

He expressed dismay over Federal Government’s negligence of coastal communities along the Atlantic Ocean affected by oil spillages, which have lasted for about two weeks.

Erekefe lamented the level of destruction the oil spill had caused the environment, aquatic life and people whose means of livelihood remained predominantly fishing.

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