“The court gave the restraining order 82 clear days before the federal government carried out the shameful bazaar in Abuja on June 26, 2022,” said the INC.
The Ijaw National Congress (INC) has criticised the President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime for disobeying a court order restraining it from issuing oil prospecting licences (OPL) pending the determination of a suit instituted by Ijaw leaders.
Mr Buhari is Nigeria’s petroleum minister.
The Yenagoa Division of the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Isa Dashen had granted an order halting the licensing round in the Niger Delta. However, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) on June 26 presented licences to 161 successful bidders.
INC President Benjamin Okaba, in a statement issued on Thursday, said injustice and habitual disregard for court orders and the rule of law by Mr Buhari’s regime had reinforced the urgent need for Nigeria’s restructuring.
Mr Okaba urged the regime to nullify the exercise and cancel the licensing round as the subsisting court order had not been vacated.
“The federal government was fully aware of the valid injunction given by the federal high court sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, restraining it from advertising or receiving bids in respect of the marginal oilfields which are a subject of litigation in suit No. FHC/YEN/ CS/81/2020 filed before the court by some Ijaw patriots,” the INC statement said.
It added, “The court, in its order issued on April 5, 2022, effectively restrained the federal government from giving out or approving licences in respect of the marginal oil fields under litigation in which the office of the minister of petroleum resources was duly represented in court.”
The INC insisted that the court gave the restraining order 82 days before Mr Buhari’s regime carried out a “shameful bazaar.”
“The INC would like to place on record that the court gave the restraining order 82 clear days before the federal government carried out the shameful bazaar in Abuja on June 26, 2022,” said the INC.
The Ijaw group added, “It is a clear sign that Nigeria urgently needs restructuring because the appalling behaviour of the federal government has continued to accelerate institutional decay and imposed despondency on the people.”
INC insisted that the oil and gas resources of the Niger Delta people “cannot continue to be shared in Abuja while our oil-producing communities suffer monumental and unmitigated environmental pollution with its attendant health hazards generated by the oil exploration and exploitation in our backyards.”