16 May 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — The Ijaw Youths Council, IYC, has admonished the Federal Government to stop persecuting Chief Dan Etete.
The IYC noted that the continuing investigations into alleged fraud in OPL245, also known as Malabu Oil deal, belonging to the former Petroleum Minister is an affront to the Niger Delta people.
President of IYC, Mr. Eric Omare, who explained the recent protest carried out by its Central Zone in Yenegoa, Bayelsa state, against ongoing fresh investigations into the Malabu oil deal, said Ijaw youths have taken exception to the continued harassment of Chief Dan Etete.
Omare wondered why OPL 245 was singled out for a prolonged probe among other licenses awarded the same time to people of other ethnic groups, said the ‘continuous harassment of Etete by the Federal Government’ was an affront to the Ijaw people and would be resisted by the people.
He maintained that if the government insisted on continuing with the probe, it should also in the spirits of fairness open investigations into deals involving other oil licenses awarded alongside Malabu by former Military Head of States, Sani Abacha.
According to him, “We demand the immediate stoppage of this persecution. If there is any issue regarding the award of oil blocks in the country, it should not be particularly Malabu Oil deal, it should include all other oil blocs in the country.
“Because Nigerian government over the years has made too much issue of out of Malabu oil which happens to be the only oil bloc owned by an Ijaw son.
“Abacha gave oil bloc to TY Danjuma, nobody is probing that of Danjuma, he gave oil blocs to other Nigerians, why are they not probing those people?
“If they want to probe irregular awarded of oil bloc issued by General Sani Abacha then it should extend to all the oil blocs awarded by General Sani Abacha and not only Malabu oil owned by Dan Etete, that is what we are saying.”
Omare reiterated that Ijaw ethnic nationality is not against the probing of alleged irregularities in the award of Malabu, but the probe must be extended to oil blocs such as the ones owned by General Theophilus Danjuma, Rtd.
“For the first time in 1998, the late Sani Abacha came up with the process of awarding oil licenses in this country and for the first time in the history of this country, an Ijaw man from Odi where the late Isaac Boro actually came from got the OPL 245.
“We are not happy that this only Ijaw man, Dan Etete, has been facing persecution since then. But we have resolved that moving forward if the Nigerian state thinks that Ijaw people are not good enough to own oil blocks, no human being in this world from any other parts of the country will be good enough to own oil blocks.”