Lagos — Ijaw elders have called for a temporary halt of the 2020 marginal fields bid round to determine the safety of the host communities.
In a letter by their Solicitor, Antony Ikoli, SAN, to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources the elders stated that the continuous exploration of oil in the Ijaw Nation has led to air and water pollution, frequent outbreak of pandemic, and economic loss.
The elders said the Ijaw people had watched helplessly in the past 60 years as they have been dehumanized, exploited, terrorized, humiliated, discriminated against, and disrespected by the government through the auctioning of exploration licenses to the oil companies who mindlessly rape the region through the appropriation and exploration of hydrocarbon deposits.
‘Oil and Gas is a non-renewable resource, therefore, the profits generated from the value ought to build capacity for equitable wealth distribution to the Ijaw Nation. An average of one oil spill, gas flaring occurs daily which has impaired the yield and nutrient value of crops cultivated in the Ijaw nation, the environmental loss and degradation that occurs as a result of the above is incurable in terms of human and environmental damage’ they lamented.
They reiterated that the above actions of the government are a breach of the Africa Charter on Human and Peoples Rights particularly Article 2,14,16,21,22 and 24 of the charter.
The elders urged the government to urgently carry out remediation of the environment of the oil-bearing communities, compensation for damages to the people and, also ensure the safety of exploration activities.
They averred that the injustice perpetrated by the government through the clamming of ownership of the resources of the region without a valid root of title can no longer go unchallenged.
‘If the government fails to meet our demands by paying us the sum accrued to us, we shall be constrained to institute an action against the government at the ECOWAS court’ they said.