Delta communities demand cancellation of Shell oil leases

A lone boatman in the restive Niger Delta26 April 2013, ABUJA — ETHNIC nationalities in Delta State, under the aegis of Delta State Oil Producing Communities, yesterday, urged the National Assembly to order the cancellation of Oil Mining Leases, OMLs, awarded to Shell Development Petroleum Development Company.

Representatives of the five ethnic communities of Itsekiri, Ijaw, Urhobo, Isoko and Ndokwa, who stormed the National Assembly Complex, blocked the gates, thereby, making entrance into the building impossible for close to three hours as vehicles were parked outside the Mopol Gate. They described the process of allocation of the oil leases as fraudulent.

They said that it was an attempt to exclude the people from their indigenous rights, adding that there must be right to first refusal to qualified indigenes of the local communities to buy into them.

Presenting a five-page petition on behalf of the communities to the leadership of the National Assembly, Chief Ayirimi Emami of the Itsekiri ethnic nationality, alleged that Minister  of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deiziani Allison-Madueke, Shell and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, were  involved in the award of four oil blocs to the tune of about N58.9 trillion.

Meanwhile, the Senate after listening to the aggrieved communities, said that the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Management of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, will appear before it next week to explain their sides of the issues raised.

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