Following the failure of the Federal Government to respond to its demand to put the 2020 marginal field bid round on hold pending the determination of some contentious issues, Ijaw Elders Forum (IEF) has resolved to challenge the process in court and seek appropriate redress.
The group berated the Government for its seeming apathy towards the plights of the oil producing communities, saying it could no longer continue to watch its own people being dehumanised, exploited, humiliated and discriminated against through the auctioning of exploration licenses to oil companies that mindlessly rape the Niger Delta region through the appropriation of hydrocarbon deposit.
Reiterating its determination to defend the rights of its people through all legitimate means, the IEF lamented that oil exploration accounts for the declining economic productivity of the Ijaw Nation with attendant air and water pollution, frequent outbreak of epidemics, deaths and environmental destruction.
The group expressed its displeasure over the situation through a letter written by GI&0 Legal Practitioners and Notaries Public on its behalf dated September 21, 2020, to the office of the Honourable Minister of Petroleum through the Minister of State.
The letter reads in part: “We do not think that our client had asked for too much when they urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to, for the sake of lives and property of its citizens which the head of the government had sworn to protect, halt the 2020 marginal field bid round until steps are taken to address some very basic and salient issues which include remediation of the environment of oil producing communities, compensation for damages already done to the people and communities and to ensure safety in oil exploration activities and protection of oil bearing communities.
“In view of the foregoing and the seeming apathy of the Federal Government of Nigeria as well as that of the other operators in the oil and gas industry towards the yearnings of our clients and their people, you are by this letter hereby put on notice that our client and the people they represent are now determined to exercise their constitutional right of seeking redress in all available fora and the court of law by instituting legal action against all entities that have continued to subject our client and their communities to inhuman treatment and to activities having deleterious effects on the lives and property of the people.”