Ijaw Elders Consider Legal Action against FG Over Marginal Field Bid Round

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A group, Ijaw Elders Forum, has issued a notice of intention to challenge in court the bidding process or marginal field rounds, and seek appropriate redress.

This follows what they described as failure of the federal government to respond to its demand to put on hold the 2020 marginal field bid round pending the determination of some contentious issues.

The group also said it could no longer continue to watch its own people being dehumanised, exploited, humiliated and discriminated against through the auctioning of exploration licenses to the oil companies.

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They berated the federal government for its seeming apathy towards the plights of the oil producing communities

The Ijaw Elders accused the oil companies of mindlessly raping the Niger Delta region through the appropriation of hydrocarbon deposit. They said they have sought the services of lawyers to facilitate their quest for justice.

The IEF lamented that oil exploration and drilling activities accounted for the declining economic productivity of the Ijaw nation with the attendant air and water pollution, frequent outbreak of pandemic, deaths, and environmental destruction.

A letter dated September 21, 2020, and authored by GI&O Legal Practitioners and Notaries Public on behalf of the group, addressed to the office of the Honourable Minister of Petroleum through the Minister of State, reads:

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“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.

“The issues 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.

“It explained that the decision of its client to pursue legal option followed the failure of the authorities concerned to respond to the earlier newspaper advertorials on the matter.

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“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.”

By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

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