The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) led by the Ijaw leader and former Information Minister, Chief Edwin Clark, has opposed the planned sale of the Belema oil field, OML 25, by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to Chrester Nigeria Ltd.
The group insisted on the divestment of the oil field to an indigenous firm, saying it would resist moves by the multinational oil company to sell it to a foreign corporate entity despite the realities that such was wrong.
Chief Clark who also led some youths at a news conference told newsmen in Abuja on Monday that the Federal Government should as a matter of urgent national priority grant interested Niger Delta indigenes and the Niger Delta state governments, the right of first refusal in the renewal and award of oil licenses.
According to him, this would positively and rapidly impact on the social and economic prosperity of the region and the country as a whole, apart from contribute to the peace and security in the region.
“PANDEF would no longer allow oil companies to treat Niger Delta people like their slaves and the region like a toxic dumping ground without taking responsibility. The SPDC is guilty of instigating an attack by soldiers on Kula Kingdom, Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State on September 15, 2018,” Clark said.
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to direct the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) and the National Security Adviser (NSA), to set up a high-powered investigative panel to uncover those behind the deployment of the naval gunboats to the OML 25 host communities in Kula Kingdom.
He said, “SPDC must therefore put on hold any planned sale of OML 25 in the overall interest of peace and stability of the Niger Delta region. SPDC must produce the report of pre-environmental impact assessment carried out before their operations and post-impact assessment to determine the state of the environment. This will be done in partnership with UN Environmental Protection Agency, the communities, the state and the Federal Government environmental agencies, PANDEF and SPDC.”
He accused the SPDC of failing to honour its agreement with the host communities of OML 25, noting that it instead sold some of the flow stations in 2014 and was presently planning to sell the Belema Gas Station to Chrester Nigeria Ltd.
He said, “Host communities of OML 25, otherwise known as Belema, Offinama, Ngeje, Kilama, Diaba, Okoama, amongst others and the entire Kula Kingdom have resolved that SPDC must divest OML 25 to an indigenous firm.”