The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, on Monday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, warned that unless the ownership structure of oil blocs in the region was rearranged to ensure fairness, attacks on oil platforms would continue.
President of the IYC, Udengs Eradiri, who spoke as part of activities to mark this year’s Isaac Boro Day, told newsmen at the Ijaw House, Yenagoa, that the unfair distribution of oil wells was a major cause of the instability in the region.
The Ijaw youths had earlier ordered the shutting down of shops in the Bayelsa State capital as a mark of honour for the late Isaac Adaka Boro.
“One of the most salient issues that if not addressed will lead to more crisis is the issue of the oil blocs. President Buhari was one time Petroleum Minister and Head of State in this country.
‘’Let us go and do an assessment of that time. The time when criminally they shared our oil blocs was under his watch either as Petroleum Minister or as Head of State. It is in one of those times.
“Oil blocs were shared to one group. Look at it, either the person (owner of oil bloc) was a former military president or relative of the military president or an in-law to a military president”, Eradiri said.
The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), the new face of militancy in the area, had last week Thursday listed some oil blocs allegedly owned by former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Danjuma, ex-Minister of Petroleum, Alhaji Rilwan Lukman and others.
The new militant group in the region had among others issued them a two-week ultimatum to shut down operations at the oil blocs and evacuate the workers from the locations or have them blown up.
Eradiri said that much of the indiscriminate sharing of oil blocs were allegedly carried out when Buhari served as Petroleum Minister or Head of State.
He accused the President of denying the people of the region ownership of oil blocs at the time while allegedly allocating same to his kinsmen and their cronies like a bazaar.
“And that is one of the biggest issues that if not addressed, there will be more Niger Delta Avengers, you will see groups and groups that will spring up until the issue is addressed”, he warned.
He insisted that the allocation of the oil blocs did not follow due process outlined by the government and called for a total review of the blocs to redress the injustice which he said such a manipulated process had brought against oil-producing communities of the Niger Delta.
Eradiri described Boro as “an intellectual and fearless comrade” who stood up for the Niger Delta despite the oppressive tendencies of the government at the time.
According to Eradiri, the issues of underdevelopment of the region for which Boro took up arms against the Federal Government were yet to be addressed by the authorities till now.