Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators has written to President Muhammadu Buhari asking for a re-distribution of all expired Oil Mining Licences and Oil Prospecting Licences earlier allocated to companies and individuals.
The agitators suggested that 13 of the 49 oil blocs be reserved for the Niger Delta states, companies and individuals while the remaining 36 be opened to other states of the federation.
They argued that the re-distribution was necessary to sustain peace and security in the oil-rich region and for smooth oil-prospecting activities.
A copy of the group’s letter dated May 17 was made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Wednesday.
It was signed by 13 agitators that included John Duku of the Niger Delta Watchdogs; Ekpo Ekpo of the Niger Delta Volunteers; Osarolor Nedam of the Niger Delta Warriors; Henry Etete of the Niger Delta Peoples Fighters; Asukwo Henshaw of the Bakassi Freedom Fighters and Ibinabo Horsfall of the Niger Delta Movement for Justice, among others.
The agitators faulted the current distribution of the oil blocs which they said revealed that an infinitesimal number of Niger Delta companies were privileged to benefit.
The agitators said their proposal for re-distribution of the licences was for the benefit of all Nigerians.
The letter read in part, “Government should cancel all the expired 49 oil blocs (OMLs and OPLs) as any further renewal will be an extension of further exploitation, deprivation and impoverishment of the larger society while enriching only the families of the very few Nigerians.
“Out of the 49 OMLs and OPLs, we strongly suggest that 13 of the cancelled oil blocs be reserved for the Niger Delta states, companies and individuals to restore equity and mitigate the level of agitations.
“This is one of the ways to involve the people inhabiting the oil-producing area in the exploitation of the resources in their domain.”
It added, “The balance of the 36 cancelled OMLs and OPLs should be opened to the 36 states whose governments or individuals with capacity should be allowed to bid and issued licences.
“This will be the only equitable way to distribute the economic mainstay of the country. Every state will see itself as participating in the oil industry.
Others who signed the letter were Duke Emmanson of Niger Delta Fighters Network; Inibeghe Adams of the Niger Delta Freedom Mandate; Abiye Tariah of the Niger Delta Development Network; Joshua Ebere of the Renewed Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta; Jeremiah Athony of the Movement for Actualisation of Niger Delta Republic; Francis Okoroafor of the Niger Delta Freedom Redemption Army and Nelson Walter of the Niger Delta Liberty Organisation.
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