From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa Progressive Vanguard (BPV) has hailed the efforts of the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, in retrieving and restoring the state’s licence on the Atala Oil Field, OML 46, which was unjustly revoked by the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in 2020.
BPV said despite the politics that led to the revocation predating his administration, Diri on the assumption of office was determined to bring back the licence due to his sense of patriotism, love and passion for the development of Bayelsa.
The group in a statement signed by its Coordinator, Daniel Amansitei commended Diri for using legitimate means to challenge the rationale behind revoking the licence of Bayelsa Oil Company (BOC) Limited to operate the field and awarding it to another company.
Amansitei said the governor pursued the case relentlessly using other channels and was able to get the Senate to probe the circumstances which led to the diversion of the licence.
“It is instructive to note that the Senate knocked the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) for the curious transfer of the licence to another company without a written directive from President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources,” he said.
“It is obvious that our licence had been stolen before the intervention of our governor. Some forces had completed the stealing of our marginal oil field and would have been enjoying the proceeds if not for the commitment and dedication of Governor Diri”.
Amansitei, however, queried the presence of former Governor Seriake Dickson during the visit to Buhari noting that he lacked the locus to partake in such discussions.
He also urged the President to investigate the circumstances that led to the revocation of the license on the watch of the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva.
“We are not naive and the fact that former Governor Seriake Dickson showed his face in that picture of the delegation does not absolve him of explaining his roles in the internal crisis in BOC that led to the current controversies in Atala marginal field. Dickson owes Bayelsans an explanation.
“We are constrained to call on Buhari to set up a probe panel to investigate the roles of Sylva in the diversion of the OML46 licence belonging to Bayelsa. How can an oil well licence be revoked and immediately re-awarded to another company without a written directive from President Buhari?,” he said.
While we commend Diri for successfully restoring our licence, we must interrogate the roles of the two former governors of the state, Seriake Dickson and Timipre Sylva in the shrouded circumstances and their subterranean role that led to the loss of the licence in the first place.”