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Atala oil field: Group knocks Sylva, hails Diri

The Ijaw advocacy group, Bayelsa Progressive Vanguard (BPV), has described as shameful and selfish that it was during the time of former Governor Timipre Sylva…

The Ijaw advocacy group, Bayelsa Progressive Vanguard (BPV), has described as shameful and selfish that it was during the time of former Governor Timipre Sylva as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, that the licence on the Atala Oil Field, OML 46 owned by Bayelsa State Government was unjustly revoked by the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

They also hailed the efforts of the State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, in retrieving and restoring the Oil Field back to the Bayelsa state oil company.

The Coordinator of the group, Mr Daniel Amansitei, told journalists on Thursday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa capital, that Diri took the matter to court challenging the rationale behind revoking the licence of Bayelsa Oil Company (BOC) Limited.

According to him, the governor pursued the case relentlessly, using other channels and was able to get the Senate to probe the circumstances which led to the diversion of the licence.

He said: “We are constrained to call on Buhari to set up a probe panel to investigate the role of Sylva in the diversion of the OML46 licence belonging to Bayelsa. How can an oil well licence be revoked and immediately re-awarded to another company without a written directive from President Buhari? What is Sylva’s interest in Halkin Exploration and Production Limited?

“While we commend Diri for successfully restoring our licence, we must interrogate the roles of the two former governors of the state , Seriake Dickson and Timipre Sylva in the shrouded circumstances and their subterranean role that led to the loss of the licence in the first place.

“It is instructive to note that the Senate knocked the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) for the curious transfer of the licence to another company without a written directive from President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources.

“It is obvious that our licence had been stolen before the intervention of our governor. Some forces had completed the stealing of our marginal oil field and would have been enjoying the proceeds if not for the commitment and dedication of Governor Diri.

“In fact, Bayelsans rejoiced when the President immediately directed the return of the licence to Bayelsa. Governor Diri’s efforts have yielded the required dividends,” he said.

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