By Brave Dickson
Some coalition of civil society organisations in Rivers State have called on Governor Nyesom Wike of the state to resign from office for not fighting against Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) regarding the controversial oil mining license popularly known as OML 25 in Kula/Belema town in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of the state.
The coalition which made up of the International Society for Social Justice and Human Rights, the Justice Advocate du Internationale as well as the Electorate Rights Defence And Education Network at a world press conference in Port Harcourt on Monday accused Governor Wike of taking sides at the detriment of the people of Kula communities in favour of SHELL.
“In a 21-paged communique signed by the three advocacy groups, the Chancellor, International Society For Social Justice and Human Rights, Dr Omenazu Jackson who spoke on behalf of the coalition described the governor’s action as a direct threat to democracy.
Dr Jackson also lambasted the federal government and SHELL, saying that: “We want the federal government to withdraw any license given to SPDC on OML 25. There is no reason why our governments should violate the laws of the land. The Nigerian Oil and Gas Content Act 2000 is very explicit about it.
“It is not only OML 25, but all oil mining licenses in Nigeria will never be given to a foreigner any more when we have indigenous oil firms that are capable of handling them like the Belema Oil Producing. Nigerians have the right of first consideration and refusal in any economic activity that concerns their nation.
“Enough of this patronage along political and diplomatic lines in this country. It doesn’t happen anywhere. The Germans can not give you a contract for a job which a German can do very well. It is not possible, neither America nor France.
“The Local Content Act is there. The Oil and Gas Act of 2010 is also there and very specific. All activities relating to petroleum which a Nigerian is capable of doing should not be given to a foreigner.
“The best option is for the federal government to withdraw oil mining license given to SHELL and stop confusing the Niger Delta. We are not deviating from this struggle as we will stand by it and enforce it in all the communities in this country.
“In matters like these, all governours of the Niger Delta and the federal government should be aware that it is time we begin to enforce the existing laws of this country. We can not just make laws and keep them in the shelve.
“You cannot tell us that we have a Nigerian in a Nigerian nation who has the capacity and technical know-how to have a mining license, you push him aside and give it to a foreigner whose interest is not for the people. I don’t think there is an indigenous company that will degrade our environment the way SHELL has done.
“If our governments cannot enforce our laws, we will now implement the rules ourselves. We are ready to go to all extent. We are prepared to go to court. We are prepared to go to the international court of arbitration. We are ready to go and join the protesting women in the creeks and stay there with them with my own family until justice is done.
“These foreign oil companies, their interest is to develop their nation, not Nigeria. What we get is little. We are talking about the benefit of our own country. No nation can love us more than our nationals: the Americans, Germans. Russians etc. can never love Nigerians than Nigerians will love themselves.
“So, whatever we are doing, we should remember that Nigeria first before any other nation. That is what it is supposed to be. The interest of this country should override the benefit of any other nation in the world.
*As Nigerians, we should be proud that we are Nigerians and whatever we get here should remain with us first. We cannot continue to patronise foreign firms when our firms are dying here. I don’t think if Nigerian firms were operating this oil all this while that our environment will be degraded to this level.”