By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—As a precondition to lasting peace in the Niger Delta, ex militants from the region, yesterday, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to resist the temptation of renewing the expired licences of all oil firms and other high placed individuals operating in the area.
Instead, they asked the president to redistribute the oil wells among the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, saying that the mineral resources though explored from the Niger Delta belong to the Nigerian people.
Reacting to reports on the renewal of the expired oil licences, the ex-militants under the aegis of “Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators,” in a letter to the President, said that the sharing of the oil blocks among the states was the only panacea to enduring peace in the region.
The letter which was copied to the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, the Group Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Kanti Baru, the Director General, Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, the Managing Director, Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and the National Chairman, Nigeria Ethnic Nationality Youth Movement, (NENYM) accused the major oil companies of fuelling the crisis in the Niger Delta.
Signed by General John Duku, Convener of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators, General Ekpo Ekpo for Niger Delta Volunteers, General Osarolor Nedam for Niger Delta Warriors among others, the letter added that the process and procedure for bidding of oil blocks should henceforth be thrown open to the general public.
The oil companies listed in the letter include Conoil Producing Limited – OML 103, OPL 297 and OPL 257; Africoil & Marketing Company Limited OPL 204 and OPL 236;
Oando Plc and Nigeria Agip Exploration OPL 244 and OPL 278; Oranto Petroleum Limited – OPL 320; Express Petroleum & Gas Company Limited and Atlas Petroleum Nigeria Limited – OML 108 and OML 109; Express Petroleum & Gas Company/Petroleum Prospects International Limited OPL 227; Cleanwaters Consortium and Seven Waves Limited OPL 289 and Total Exploration & Production Nigeria and Chevron Nigeria Ltd – OPL 221.
Others were Moni Pulo Limited – OPL 234, OPL 239 and OPL 231; Summit Oil International Limited – OPL 206; Tenoil Petroleum & Energy Services Limited – OPL 2008; Sahara Energy E&P Limited and BG Exploration Nigeria Limited – OPL 286 and OPL 284; Starcrest Nigeria Limited – OPL 291; Emo E&P Nigeria Ltd and Total E&P Nigeria Limited – OPLs 285 and 279; Newcross Petroleum Limited and Rayflosh Petroleum Ltd – OPL 283; Amalgamated Oil Company Limited and Cavendish Petroleum Nigeria Limited – OPL 452 and OML 110; Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and AMNI International Petroleum Limited – OML 104 and OML 112; Esso E&P Limited – OPL 226 and OPL 223; Nigeria Development Company Limited – OPL 722, OPL 733, OPL 809 and OPL 810; Nigeria Development United Limited – OPL 233; Orient Petroleum Refinery Limited – OPLs 915 and OPL 916; Afren Global Energy Resources Limited – OPL 907.
Crownwell and Platinum Natural Resources – OPL 305 and OPL 306; China National Offshore Oil Corporation – OPL 471; Gas Transmission & Power Limited – OPL 905; GEC Petroleum Development Company Limited – OPL 2010; Newcross and Albright Waves Petroleum Development – OPL 276.
The letter read in parts: “The general assembly of the coalition resolved as follows the president and commander in chief of the armed forces, should reject all application for renewal of Oil Prospecting Licences, OPL, Oil Mining Licences, OML, from the companies affected as listed below and many other ones that also seek renewal.
“We therefore, demand that OPL and OML of all the companies mentioned above and others yet to mention be withdrawn and the renewing processes/procedures should be stopped with immediate effect for the interest of peace in the Niger Delta and Nigerian at large.
“The oil blocks should rather be re-distributed among the 36 states of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and other Nigerians who have not benefited or own oil block before.
“It is a clear case of injustice for some few individual to hold Nigerian oil wells and enrich themselves and their families at the expense and detriment of others. Our believe that the oil found in the Niger Delta is for all Nigerians and the benefits derived from such God given treasure should be for all and not for particular family.
“We also wish to draw the attention of the government that the owners of these oil blocks today are the problem and the crises in the Niger Delta today, majority of them divert the funds meant for community development to their private use, stealing crude oil through barges conniving with NNPC officials after which they paid some youths to vandalize pipelines to cover up their stealing.
“The process and procedure for bidding of oil blocs should henceforth be thrown open to general public.
“We believe that you will use your good office to provide justice, equity and fairness on this matter, the oil bloc should not be inheritance of a particular person or family.
“We shall resist any further attempt to entrust our oil blocs to these companies, who do not care about the wellbeing of the Niger Delta people and Nigeria at large. Most of them don’t have operational office in the region; neither do they care to provide basic amenities to the oil producing communities.