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Transparency Group Flays Delta Communities' Protest At NASS Over Oil Blocks

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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… Says Host Communities Favoured In Oil Ministry’s Partnership With Local Oil Companies

SAN FRANCISCO, April 26, (THEWILL) - A Niger Delta group, the Niger Delta Transparency & Equity Initiative (NDTEI) has described the politicians that led five oil producing communities in Delta State in a protest at the National Assembly on Thursday as self-centered and selfish over their allegation that the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, the officials of the Ministry of Petroleum and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) secretly transferred oil blocks to Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited and Septa Energy owned by Nigerian businessman, Mr. Jide Omokore.

The protesters in a release claimed that Mr. Omokore’s oil company neither tendered for, nor bided for the blocks, adding that by this deal, “60 per cent of NNDC’s 55 per cent stake of these assets is about five billion barrels, which when calculated with the 2013 crude oil benchmark comes to $380 billion or N58.9trillion. This figure is exclusive of the four trillion cubic feet (4TCF) of gas asset in the blocks valued at $15.72 trillion.”

But the NDTEI said the claim by the protesters are “wildly exaggerated figures without any attempt to benchmark them against any known industry standards.”

The NDTEI said the leaders of the protest -- Chief Ayiri Emani, Chief Aribogha Johnny, Olorogun Jaro Egbo, Zino Onaemor; and Emmanuel Orwti -- are well known touts and former militants who have benefited immensely from the oil in the delta at the expense of the communities they claim to represent.

In a statement on Friday, the group also frowned at the sensational news headlines drawn from the content of the press release issued by the protesters without verifying the allegations claimed.

“Our attention has been drawn to another dubious protest at the National Assembly on Thursday the 25th of April 2013 by a group of disgruntled and self serving former militants cum politicians masquerading as community leaders who have sensationally alleged that the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) illegally transferring four oil blocks to Nigerian companies, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited and Septa Energy.

“These allegations have been made at various times in the past and continue to have nothing other than nuisance value going for them. They are wildly exaggerated figures without any attempt to benchmark them against any known industry standards.

“It is pertinent to note that those that orchestrated and led the protest are Chief Ayiri Emani, Chief Aribogha Johnny, Olorogun Jaro Egbo, Zino Onaemor; and Emmanuel Orwti -- all well known touts and former militants who have benefited immensely from the oil in the delta at the expense of the communities they claim to represent.

“It is a shame that people from the region who ought to know better and help the current administration in its efforts to bring succor to the region through its proposed Host Community Fund enshrined in the PIB are the same ones to rise up in criticism, ” the group said in a statement by Comrade Emmanuel Zukomor and comrade Ebiwari Epraim.

The NDTEI further alerted that the protest is part of a political agenda aimed at rubbishing the current administration following President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s perceived interest in seeking reelection in 2015.

“The underlying factors here are that this is obviously political and the first salvo in what is perhaps a calculated attempt to rubbish all the gains this government has made in the last 2 years in transforming the oil industry, in order to kick start a negative and dubious campaign against this administration with 2015 in mind.

“We encourage this government to remain resolute and stand up against any attempt to hijack its laudable agenda which is aimed at improving the lot of all Nigerians.

“It is obvious to any neutral stakeholder that via its initiatives such as the proposed PIB and Local Content act, that the current Minister of Petroleum and President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan are looking to transform the sector from business as usual to one of openness and transparency.

“We are concerned that a few misguided people are trying to derail the efforts of government to increase local participation in the oil and gas sector. It is no secret that under this regime that a large number of local companies including NPDC have continued to grow and begun to compete favourably with IOC’s and other JV companies in winning significant business in the sector.

“It is also no secret that funding arrangements such as those NPDC has entered into with its various partners are on terms more favourable to Nigeria than has been the case in the past.

“We urge the Minister and Mr. President to remain focused on their collective agenda to bring about total transformation to the sector,” the NDTEI added.