Ijaw youths threaten to blow up $15b oil facility

Posted by Igoniko Oduma | 18 April 2018 | 2,313 times

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The $15 billion oil investment in the Gulf of Guinea promoted by Total E&P and its partners may hit the rocks if urgent steps are not taken to douse tension between Ijaw youths and promoters of the project.

This follows threats by the leadership of Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, to blow up the facility if relevant stakeholders fail to prevail on the promoters of the project christened, ‘Egina Project OML 130’ offshore Nigeria to adhere to the provisions of the Local Content Act.

In a statement issued on Wednesday by the President of IYC, Roland Oweileami, he called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to urgently wade into the face- off between IYC and the promoters of the multi billion naira project before it is too late.

Oweileami regretted what he described as the “marginalisation, exclusion and shortchanging of Ijaw people in employment, training of expertise and local indigenous contracts”, saying all is targeted at excluding the Ijaw Nation from their “God given natural resources”.

According to the statement, the Egina Project which is valued at 15 billion US dollars consists of 44 Oil wells connected to the 2.3 million barrel capacity storage of FPSO with a 200,000 barrel of oil per day processing capacity.

The statement further said that the leadership of IYC as critical stakeholders has written series of letters to Total E&P the operator of the FPSO and their partners, including LADOL which is the consultant in charge of recruitment, local contracts and local trainings, for the exercise expected to generate 50,000 new jobs on the project.

In the letters, the IYC president said, the youths had requested for negotiations to ensure compliance with the relevant local content law on employment opportunities to the youths and people of the region on the Egina Project.

Other demands include indigenous participation in the Egina field project with respect to contracts and local training of manpower, possible environmental impact assessment of the project on the people of the affected areas in the region, mutual cooperation and collaboration with the leadership of IYC towards ensuring an enabling environment, among others.

He lamented that the International Oil Companies, IOCs, have deliberately refused to call on the leadership of IYC for possible discussions and negotiations on the above issues raised.

“The exclusion of IYC in the fabrication, EIA, surveying on the field, seismic 2D and 3D survey and the water injection flow line oil offloading terminal, flexible jumpers ubilicals and subsea manifold and training of expertise during the fabrication of Egina by Samsung heavy industry, Tehnic FMC, Minox technology, Saipen and Avon is not only regrettable but totally unacceptable by the Ijaw Youths, the Ijaw Nation and the Niger Delta region. It is so regrettable to see Ijaw youths denied of their God given natural resources in our region.

“We were also denied of the Topside module that was fabricated by Samsung heavy industry and production facility which was established in Lagos rather than in the Niger Delta Region which is closer to the Gulf of Guinea for industrial growth and sustainability of the region which is a deliberate means to under-develop and short change us from our God given resources.

“Caracal oil and gas was contracted also for provision of transport and logistics support service on the Total Egina field, a contract extension for the platform supply vessel which includes transportation of goods, equipment, and personnel to offshore vessel.

“We the Ijaw people and youths as critical stakeholders in the region were excluded in all these projects! But we shall take back what is due us in the region in compliance with the local content! Enough is enough! This issue of marginalisation, exclusion and shortchanging by the IOC’s in collaboration with the federal government is indeed a deliberate act which must come to an end! We want to state categorically that we shall stop at nothing in protecting and ensuring our full participation in our God given natural resources in our region and territorial waters,” the statement read in part.

The IYC vowed to do everything within their reach “by any means necessary to stop the IOC’s from carrying out the project and other ongoing and about to commence projects in the gulf of guinea in our territorial waters and no amount of security presence in the region or gun boats can stop us if it means blowing up the FPSO we will not hesitate to do so.”

“The neglect, marginalisation is obvious that the federal government in collaboration with the IOC’s do not mean well for the people of the Niger Delta and the Ijaw nation.”

The statement added that Total E&P and other partners are also preparing for final investment decision for Ikike field and other fields within the territorial waters in the region and warned that what happened to the Bunga oil field in 2009 could be repeated, “as Ijaw people will not tolerate it any longer”.

“If these IOC’s and their so called consultants fail to engage us as major and critical stakeholders within a week time then the FPSO should remain in LADOL’s shipyard and should not be moved into our territorial waters!

“We are aware of the gunboat vessels security built by Damen in partnership with the Navy. To us it is not a threat! We still remain the Egbesu boys of Africa. We are standing on the Peace President Muhamadu Buhari is seeking, but it does not mean we are cowards!

“We want to use this medium to call on the attention of Mr. President to call the IOC’s to order and also grant us a courtesy visit to deliberate on issues concerning the Niger Delta to sustain lasting peace and industrial growth in the region”, the youths demanded.

The group warned that now the oil production has increased tremendously as a result of “our concerted efforts in collaboration with the Federal Government nobody should push us to the wall to shut down all oil installations in the region which will cripple the economy of Nigeria”.

While expressing support to President Muhamadu Buhari-led administration to bring lasting Peace in the Niger Delta Region and the country at large, the youths equally expressed their readiness to ensure the smooth operation and success of the project if carried along.

“We the people of Niger Delta desire peace and economic inclusion to create and promote jobs and industrial growth for our teaming unemployed youths in our region, rather than taking our resources in our land, in our region to Lagos thereby shortchanging us from industrial growth and expertise to our people and land. We cannot allow other regions any further to become the bedrock and hub for investors thereby neglecting where the oil is taken from to languish in insecurity, unemployment and neglect for industrial growth and creating a poverty hover! Hence the need to call the leadership of IYC for possible discussions and deliberations. The Ijaw struggle for resource control remains sacrosanct.”

Meanwhile, the IYC has equally urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently approve the needed funds for the implementation of the Niger Delta Development Master plan to avert fresh crisis in the region.

President of IYC, Barr. Roland Oweileami, who made the demand in an electronic email to our correspondent while reacting to the $1 billion the President approved for the fight against Boko Haram, said approving such money to fight “defeated terrorists”, and leaving the region that required such money more than any other sector will open the old wounds of restiveness in the Niger Delta.

He contended that the “unilateral approval of $1b by President Muhammadu Buhari to combat Boko Haram without recourse to legislative approval means that the Government can also unilaterally approved money for the Niger Delta developmental plan.

“If the Executive arm can on its own volition approve such amount of money to prosecute the (fight against the) much touted defeated Boko Haram sects then we see no reason why Niger Delta region should not be given lion share of the slush funds,” he stressed.

The IYC President insisted: “There is no justification for the approval of such funds to combat Boko Haram sects who the Government has declared to have been defeated.”

According to him, though no sacrifice is too much in securing lives and property in the country, “our concern is the use of one billion dollars to fight the terrorists the FG has once celebrated to have been defeated,” he maintained.

“Is there anything that the FG is not telling Nigerians? IYC smells a rat in this shoddy plan to spend the tax payer’s money on this fruitless venture.

“To us in the Niger Delta region, the money said to be approved by the President for the Boko Haram crisis is a smokescreen. There is more to it than meets the ordinary eyes,” he contended.

Oweileami advised President Buhari to use the money to address other critical sectors in the country.

“In the Niger Delta, we have several projects littered in the region that are begging for the government’s attention. The growing silence on the part of the FG constitutes more threats to peace in this country.

“The Ogoni clean-up exercise is still a mirage; the Escravos Gas City project has been tactically abandoned by this Government. The FG owes NDDC billions of naira.

“The Government can revive the moribund deep sea ports and dockyards in Burutu and other coastal towns in the region. The coastal highway road project awarded by the Yar’Adua Government needs $1b for its take off.

“The East West Road is still begging for completion. These are projects that will not only generate income to the government; they will also guarantee peace in the region thereby boosting the economy,” he maintained.


Source: News Express

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