A coalition of Ijaw organisations has called for the suspension of the current bid rounds for marginal oil fields in the Niger Delta, warning that it would commence legal actions against the federal government if it continues with the process.
The coalition, comprising the Ijaw Elders Forum (IEF), Lagos, Ijaw Professionals Association (IPA) and Ijaw Nations Forum (INF), said the call was due to the auctioning and exploitation of the resources of the Niger Delta and reckless destruction of the environment and ecosystem without consideration for the people.
The Federal Government, through the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), had on June 2, this year, launched the first licensing round for marginal oilfields since 2002/2003.
However, in a statement yesterday jointly signed by leaders of the organisations, the coalition said the exercise should be cancelled until the issue of ownership of the natural resources of the region is addressed.
They also said the remediation of the environment of oil-bearing communities, compensation for damages already done to the people and communities and ensuring safety in oil exploitation activities and protection of oil-bearing communities were conditions that must be fulfilled for the process to continue.
“We hereby give notice that legal actions will commence against the federal government without further notifications if the current bid rounds for marginal fields is not suspended or cancelled forthwith and the issues raised addressed.
“We call on all men of goodwill and the international community to prevail on the federal government to address all issues raised herein before proceeding with any process of auctioning the resources of the Niger Delta. This injustice must stop,” the group said.