From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Ijaw National Congress (INC) has described as laudable the commitment of the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, to recover the state government’s Oil Mining Licence (OML) 46 in the Atala oilfield that was wrongly and arbitrarily revoked, and re-allocated to a private firm in April 2020.
The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions had after its sitting upbraided the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), formerly the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), for not providing any evidence of Presidential directive for the re-allocation of Atala oilfield to a private firm and for flouting a presidential directive that the original owners of OML 46 be given the right of first refusal in the award of the oilfield.
In a statement issued in Yenagoa, the INC President, Prof Benjamin Okaba stated the decision by Governor Diri to engage President Muhammadu Buhari in a bid to reclaim the oil asset for the government and good people of Bayelsa State was a step in the right direction.
According to Okaba, Diri’s meeting with President Buhari in Abuja where he sought the President’s intervention to resolve the orchestrated controversy around OML 46 is a demonstration of his commendable leadership in the affairs and well-being of the Ijaw nation.
The INC also applauded Diri for also seeking the Federal Government’s intervention in road infrastructure in the state and the need to adopt Bayelsa Medical University as a suitable location and facility for the South-South region in the proposed establishment of six new federal universities of medical sciences and biomedical technology in the country.
Okaba stated that the broad daylight deployment of the instrumentality of state by some privileged persons to grab Atala oilfield from Bayelsa State has vindicated “our incontrovertible position that the foundation of Nigeria is monumentally faulty and thrives on injustice and inequality, which requires surgical intervention by way of restructuring.”
While thanking President Buhari for expressing his commitment to urgently look into the OML 46 controversy, INC urged him to ensure that it is resolved in favour of Bayelsa State in the interest of peace, justice and equity.
The statement read in part:
“We also urge President Buhari not to be dissuaded by any contrary suggestions from any quarters to restore the oil asset to Bayelsa State. The INC equally commends the Senate for dispassionately investigating the OML 46 saga and resolving that the oilfield be returned to its original owner.
“The INC is in unwavering solidarity with Governor Diri and his quest as a worthy leader of the Ijaw nation to pursue justice concerning the Atala oilfield through peaceful means to a logical conclusion for the benefit of Bayelsa and Ijaw people.”