Following the recently passed Petroleum Industrial Bill wherein 3 percent was allocated as operating expenditure of oil firms to host communities, the Ijaw National Congress (INC) has expressed fear that Ijaw leaders and elders may no long promise or guarantee peace as regards multinational oil exploration in Ijaw land.
The INC reiterated that the arbitrary distortion of the definition of host communities in the PIB remains totally unacceptable to the Ijaw nation.
A statement signed by INC President, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, copy of which was obtained by INFO DAILY said leadership of the Ijaw nation have been finding it difficult to calm nerves of the people in the oil producing area due to oppression from some few persons who preside over their God-given resources, saying this action of the National Assembly would further aggravate things.
“We are finding it difficult to calm down the nerves of our people whose anger is daily heightened by the unrelenting oppressive demeanour of those presiding over the fortunes of our God-given resources.
“Whereas we thought the PIB offered a veritable opportunity for the leadership to redress and pacify our people by hearkening to our petitions and cries of marginalization and underdevelopment, the recent decision by the Senate of the Federal Republic to allocate a paltry 3% to the Host Communities Trust Fund has poured fuel on an already combustible situation.
“Since our appeal as the leadership of the Ijaw nation appears to have fallen on deaf ears, we cannot promise or guarantee that we shall be able to contain any recourse to restiveness that could arise in Ijaw land,” he declared.
The INC President who lamented that in spite of bearing the burdens of sustaining the country, the Ijaw speaking people have experienced irreparable and unimaginable losses of their sources of livelihood, said as a people, they would continue to condemn any policy that attempts to make what duly belongs to the Ijaw nation as if it belong to everybody.
He said, “The Ijaw nation shall continue to condemn any policy that attempts to make what duly belongs to us as belonging to everybody and anybody without first respecting our right to ownership as we have at no time assumed ownership and control over what belongs to others.
“The walkout by our patriotic Senators further expresses our disillusionment over the continued unsavory treatment meted against the over 27 million Ijaw people who, in spite of bearing the burdens of sustaining this country, have experienced irreparable and unimaginable losses of their sources of livelihood as they continue to suffer the pollution of their ecosystem on account of the activities of insensitive multinational oil companies without appropriate remediation as well as existential threats in the hands of the Nigerian state.”