THE Isokos of Delta State have added their voice to the call my ethnic groups to demand right of first refusal in the bidding process for the 57 marginal oil fields in the state.
President-General of Isoko Development Union (IDU), Chief Iduh Amadhe made the call in a statement made available to newsmen on Sunday.
According to him, the Isokos were in agreement with the Ijaws, Itsekiris and Urhobos that those from oil producing communities should be considered first in the bidding process.
He said, “We should be given `right of first refusal’ in the bidding process.
“We call on Federal Government to discontinue any action to the contrary.
“We cannot continue to allow our people to wallow in poverty all because we are denied our birthright to benefit from our God-given goldmine.
“Isoko was the second place where crude oil was produced in commercial quantity in this country, that was at Uzere in 1958 soon after the first one at Oloibiri in Bayelsa,” he said.
Newsden had reported how Delta State Deputy Governor, Burutu Otuaro called on the Ijaws and Itsekiris to apply dialogue rather than crippling oil facilities to drum up their demands for right of first refusal in the bidding process.
According to Otuaro, the ethnic nationalities should “rescind the planned shut down of oil operations for a win-win strategy/outcome which the Delta State Government was envisaging in its engagement with the FG.
“I personally appeal that the oil communities consider jettisoning the idea of shutting down oil operations, as a birthday gift to our Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, and to enable his team more time to deepen discussions with the appropriate authorities.
“I want to thank the Itsekiri and the Ijaw of Gbaramatu for peacefully airing their demands for worldwide attention.
“I think that resorting now to shutting down oil operations by Ijaw and Itsekiri in place of the present peaceful path would be seen as confrontational owing to the present financial situation of the FG which the Gbaramatu people acknowledged in their own protest.
“It would additionally cripple Federal Government capacity to address our clearly legitimate demands and erase outside sympathy for the cause. It could lead our vulnerable people thereby deprived of world sympathy to be on collision course with the FG”.
“The world has been watching the commendablly peaceful protests of Gbaramatu Ijaw and the Itsekiri, over pending demands.
“The world knows it is unconscionable to deny the oil producing people Oil Mining Licenses (OML) and Marginal Fields generously given to others to their exclusion.”