INC demand for environmental cleanup of their communities
By George George Idowu
Stakeholders of Ijaw National Congress (INC) have called on International Oil Companies (IOC) to clean up the polluted sites around their environments before pulling out of their host communities.
This called was made by the President of INC, Prof Benjamin Okaba, who read the communique to newsmen on Friday.
He said “very soon, Ijaw territories would become private estates of these local investors with international connections.”
“Before the IOCs are allowed to pull out, they should be made to clean up the environmental mess they have created. The new investors should relocate their headquarters to Ijaw territories where they have their oil facilities.”
According to them, the Petroleum Industry Act was designed to deepen the underdevelopment of the area.
He said, “The Petroleum Industry Act is anti-Ijaw in all ramifications.
According to him, the NNPC has been privatised by the Federal Government, and the International Oil Companies are divesting their oil assets around Ijaw land with local consortiums buying up shares.
Okaba said the Ijaw people would set up a think-tank to examine every aspect of their existence and provide strategic templates for the collective growth and development of the Ijaw nation.
He further lamented that despite contributing 60 per cent of the major source of economic survival for Nigeria, majority of the communities in Ijaw land are still in a deploring state.
“Despite contributing over 60 per cent to oil and gas production, which is the country’s main source of economic survival, there are no major infrastructures across Ijaw land. He said, the East-West Road that traverses Ijaw land is still deplorable and impassable, and several Ijaw communities remain inaccessible by road.
“Also, port facilities in Warri, Sapele, Port Harcourt, etc, that were hitherto economically viable are no longer in use. Proposed seaports at Agge and other towns in Ijaw territories are yet to exponentially impact the economic climate of Ijaw land. We also lack energy infrastructure and other drivers of social, economic and technological advancement.
“We are unhappy with lopsided political appointments at the federal level. We reject the deliberate Balkanisation of Ijaw territories into minorities to deny us the socio-economic and political advantages that are associated with majority status. We are resolute on this” he concluded.
Recall that, Shell announced on Monday that it had agreed to sell its Nigerian onshore oil assets to Renaissance, a consortium of four Nigerian companies and one foreign firm for $2.4 billion.
Shell, which had been operating in Nigeria for over 60 years, in a statement by its London office, said with the deal, its onshore subsidiary, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, will now be operated by ND Western, Aradel Energy, First E&P, Waltersmith, and Petrolin, a Swiss company respectively.
Thus, on Thursday, the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, said it was not opposed to Shell’s sale of oil assets.
According to a statement signed by the Special Adviser on Media and Communication to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Nneamaka Okafor, which affirmed the government’s commitment to providing the enabling business-friendly environment in the country’s oil and gas industry.