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Ijaw National Congress faults Nigerian government’s issuance of marginal fields licences

The Ijaw National Congress (INC) on Friday berated the Federal Government for flouting a court order which restrained it from issuing marginal oilfields licences to oil prospecting firms.

The leader of the National Representative Council of INC, Dr Anyanate Kio, said that the government disrespected the rule of law by awarding the licences on June 29 to successful bidders despite a subsisting court injunction.

Recall, that Justice Isa Dashen, of the Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, had issued the order on April 25 in suit No. FHC/YEN/CS/81/2020 filed by Chief Phillip Brown Agu, Founder/President, Assured Ethical Advancement, Femowei Braye Friday and Mrs Rosemary John-Oduone, President, Ijaw Women Connect, on behalf of the Ijaw ethnic nationality.

The Attorney-General of the Federation/Minister of Justice, Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources are listed in the suit as the first, second and third defendants respectively.

Kio, who spoke with ecocitytv in an interview in Yenagoa on Friday, applauded the approach of the Ijaw leader’s legal team led by Enie Otrofanowei, who has filed an application to revoke the licences and described the government’s attitude as overbearing.

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He urged the federal government to jettison impunity and also embrace the rule of law that the Ijaw nation was relying on to pursue justice and address marginalization and oppression over their oil and gas endowment.

The Ijaw leader said, “The action of the Federal Government is overbearing on the Ijaw nation. We expect that the government will respect the rule of law. Because Ijaw people are peace-loving, they decided to take this matter to court.

“It is overbearing for the Federal Government to wholesomely give out marginal oilfields in Ijaw nation without recourse to the host communities; it is something that needs to be resisted beyond what we are doing but we are law-abiding people.”

Kio stated that the Ijaw people should not be arm-twisted into using unconventional methods to seek equity and fairness to tackle their marginalization, adding that the Ijaw nation was committed to a better deal in the award of marginal oilfields licences.

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