By Samuel Oyadongha
IJAW leaders have urged the Minister of Petroleum Resources to respect a substituting order of a Federal High Court sitting in Bayelsa State, on the ongoing marginal oilfields licensing rounds.
They vowed to take legal steps to oppose the violation of the court order.
The court had restrained the Federal Government from issuing licences on marginal oilfields in Niger Delta pending the determination of a pending suit.
The Ijaw leaders in a petition to the Minister of Petroleum Resources through the Minister of State for Petroleum by their counsel, Mr. Enie Otrofanowei, said this was to draw the Federal Government’s attention to the subsisting order.
The petitioners noted that as parties with legal representation in the suit, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources was expected to show examples in promoting the rule of law and abide by the court order, threatening to take legal actions to oppose violation of the order.
The Ijaw leaders had approached the court in 2020, seeking to halt licensing on marginal oilfields located in their domains.
Following setbacks and delays in the suit, the Federal Government announced bid winners on the fields on June 1, 2021, and has scheduled to hand over the marginal fields licences to the winners within the week.
Trial judge, Justice Isa Dashen, granted the restraining order in favour of the Ijaw leaders.
Ijaw leaders who filed the suit are Brown Agu (Opu Agu VIII), Mrs. Rosemary John-Oduone, President, Ijaw Women Connect and Mr. Femowei Friend on behalf of themselves and the Ijaw ethnic nationality.
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources are defendants in the suit.
The Ijaw leaders asked the court to restrain the Federal Government from further advertising and receiving bids in respect of the marginal fields.
They also asked the court to restrain the Federal Government from approving licences in respect of the marginal fields.