The Niger Delta Activists Forum (NDAF) has called for a temporary halt to the 2020 marginal field bid round to determine host communities’ safety and security, via an environmental impact assessment, giving right of first refusal and concessionary rights of participation in the bid process to host communities.
On July 2, 2020, the Department of Petroleum Resources had advertised the Marginal Field Bid Round- 2020. A statement by the group made available to newsmen in Calabar, yesterday, signed by the National President/Leader, Comrade Success Jack; the National Director, Community, Health and Environment, Comrade Kennedy Tabuko; the Niger Delta Activists Forum, FCT Chapter, Comrade Hezekiah Silas Olu and the Cross River State Public Relations Officer (PRO) Ogar Emmanuel Oko for the Niger Delta people said: “We have elected to communicate relevant authorities, for two major reasons: prevailing concerns over safety and security of oil and gas host community dwellers, and the urgent need for an immediate Environmental Impact Assessment and the consultation, inclusion of host communities, granting of right of first refusal and concessionary rights of participation to host communities”.
“The current ongoing Marginal Field Bid round-2020 should be temporarily put on hold, to fully accommodate and integrate growing resentment and frustration over the inappropriateness of the non-inclusive, non-consultative nature of this process.
“The honorable Minister and the Ministry of Petroleum affairs should immediately initiate fresh Environmental Impact Assessment within and around host communities, with the aim of ascertaining the safety or otherwise of continued oil exploitation activities within these areas, and there should be critical stakeholders’ consultation with regional stakeholders and the communities hosting these fields for their inputs.
“The Honorable Minister, through the approval of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, should institute a 20 per cent concessionary quota for host communities participation, upholding same concessions in the bid fees and costs…”
Stressing that it was sad “for an exercise of this magnitude designed to shore up national revenue, mainly drawing the resource in context from the Niger Delta geographical environment, does not respect nor consider the Niger Delta as deserving of concessionary rights in this exercise,” the group said it had become increasingly provocative, “when even the process, as detailed in the guideline is clearly violated, in the non-fulfilment of carrying out town hall meeting, designed to make the locals feel carried along. How do you license an asset aboriginally passed down to us by our forebears and we are not put in the know?…”