By Samuel Oyadongha
YENAGOA THE Movement for the Survival of Ijaw Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta has declared as “double standard” and “injustice” the decision by the Federal Government that oil mining companies in the Northern States consult host communities before issuance of mining licences can be granted.
It said though the decision of the Federal Government is based on the provision of the exclusive list of the constitution, the decision showed that the Federal Government operates a different constitution when it comes to the lack of proper consultation by oil multinational granted oil exploration licence in the Niger Delta states.
The Federal Government had recently declared that it will not issue out fresh permits to solid minerals mining firms in Nigeria to mine for more minerals if they do not have the consents of their host communities.
The Federal Government through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, also stated that the government has reviewed the country’s Mining and Mineral Act of 2007, and fixed some of the loopholes that were identified in it such that it can now compete well with any mining laws in the world.
But MOSIEND in a statement issued in Yenagoa and signed by the National Secretary, Ambassador Winston Amain, wondered if Nigeria now operates two different constitution’s for the north and south where communities in the north are authorised to mine their gold especially in Zamfara State while the oil and gas in the South-South is an exclusive reserve for the Federal Government.
MOSIEND noted that this move is a demonstration of the continuous injustice, marginalization and oppression of the oil-rich South-South region.
“How can communities in the north have the right to mine their gold while communities in the south can not refine their own crude oil and gas resources.
“How can the country be described as one Nigeria when the resources in Zamfara, Taraba, Bauchi, Nassarawa and Kogi is for the North alone while the oil and gas from the East and the Niger Delta are for the North and South, MOSIEND queried.
The group, however, called on the multinational oil companies to renegotiate with the host communities, noting that, the federal government can not continue to decide over the oil and gas resources in the south while giving the north a free hand over their own resources.