By Rejoice Egbaseimokumor

As the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) conclude its divestment plans by selling off their Onshore Assets to a Consortium, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has rejected the move by addressing a World Press Conference in Warri.

The Youths in a World Press Conference in Warri on Tuesday 23rd of January 2024 had alerted Shell and the Federal Government of Nigeria that if the locals from the host communities, particularly the Ijaws and Niger Deltans are not included in the process, they will rise up against the move, describing the move as neocolonization, vowing that they will resist the injustice with the last drop of their blood. Amb. Binebai Yerin Princewill, Spokesman Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide conveyed the message of council by reading out the statement of the Ijaw people by warning the Consortium not to waste their money in buying the Shell Onshore Assets in Niger Delta without involving the Ijaw people.
He noted that Shell can’t even leave the Country without cleaning up the Niger Delta environment.

Meanwhile, the Deputy President of Council, Comr. Freedom Atigbi and Maobuye Nangi Obu, Secretary General of the IYC had also added their voice, stressing that the Ijaw people are resolute and united in fighting against the move.

They particularly and equally advised the Federal Government of Nigeria and Shell to retrace their steps by doing the right thing in involving the local people who are financially capable to buy off these assets.

The statement reads below:

A World Press Conference Held On Tuesday 23rd Of January 2024 On The Position Of The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC ) Worldwide Over The Purported Sale Of Shell’s Onshore Assets In Niger Delta.

We write to warn Renaissance Africa Energy and other similar Consortiums that has perfected plans to buy the Shell onshore assets in the Niger Delta region without recourse to stakeholders from Niger Delta region with the requisite capacity to procure such assets in line with the Local Content Act. We strongly advised that these consortiums stay clear of this erroneous process midwifed by Shell to further embolden the mystery of the respective host communities that Shell is famous for their underdevelopment, the destruction of their environment and abuse of stakeholders for over 70 years of Shell’s oil and gas exploration in the Niger Delta.

We strongly advice the consortium and any other business entities not to waste their resources in procuring the Shell Onshore Assets in the Niger Delta, particularly in the Ijaw areas without the proper participation and inclusion of Ijaw indigenous companies and critical stakeholders in the Niger Delta region.

Without mincing words, the IYC Worldwide is daring Shell and its collaborators to go on with this process without involving the local people whose areas these onshore assets are located and watch the grave negative impact these will cost the oil and gas industry. The Ijaw people cannot continue to be treated as slaves by eating crumbs. Any attempt to continue to treat our people as second class citizens in this process will meet stiff resistance by any means necessary.

Historically, in 1936, The Royal Dutch/Shell Group founded Shell D’Arcy, the first Shell company in Nigeria.
November 1938 – Shell D’Arcy was granted Exploration licence to prospect for oil throughout Nigeria.

January 1956 – First successful well drilled at Oloibiri by Shell D’Arcy. April 1956- Changed name to Shell-BP Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited.

February 1958 – The first shipment of oil from Nigeria. April 1961 – Shell’s Bonny Terminal was commissioned. September 1971 – Shell’s Forcados Terminal was commissioned.

Therefore, it is an insult to the sensibility of the Niger Delta stakeholders, particularly the Ijaw people after many years of agitation for resource control which has led to the loss of several lives and properties, Shell in its usual antic want to re-sign our people into modern day slavery in the oil and gas industry that has been the live wire of the Nigerian economy. More worrisome is the fact that this attempt is made in an era where Ijaw nation is laced with capable and competent stakeholders that can afford some of these assets. We reiterate that any attempt to boycott our people must surely be vehemently resisted by every available means.

We want to for the purpose of clarity state that the current move by Shell in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria and its regulatory agencies is against the local content act of Nigeria, and we advice the office of the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu to quickly swing to action by Advising His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu aright. We make bold to say that until our people are involved and given the first right of refusal to participate, we will advice the consortiums not to throw their money into the buying process as it will amount to a total waste of resources.

For the purpose of emphasis, the IYC stands to correct the impression circulated by enemies of the region that Niger Delta region do not have capable hands to buy off some of these assets. While we reiterate that as a people, we are committed to a genuine peace that upholds our rights and dignity, we are, as always, gallant to resist any negative peace that seeks to continually foist on us the scourge of structural violence and deprivation. For too long, the peaceful nature of the Niger Delta people have been taken for granted by the oil multinationals and we wish to put a stop to this trend in the course of this new era.

We will continue to consolidate and sustain the peace in the region as a council by working closely with our sister tribes, security agencies and stakeholders of Ijaw nation to provide investment friendly environment if the right thing is done.

For the purpose of justice, fairness and equity, our people must be involved and be allowed to participate in this Shell’s planned sale of onshore assets in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region. We have a lot of environmental issues and damaged caused by Shell in the Niger Delta environment in the over 70 years of their operations that we need to resolve before their divestment in the region. Shell also insulted the Niger Delta people by stating that the reason behind the sale of their Onshore assets is insecurity, invariably they are telling us that they have been striving on chaos all these years. What a shame and cheap blackmail from Shell?

Finally, the entire World should know that the Niger Delta of today is the most peaceful region, owing to the efficient work done by private security firms in the region in collaboration with the Nigerian military, oil production has increased, the environment is peaceful and highly friendly to investors.

Amb. Binebai Yerin Princewill
Spokesman Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide

The Press Conference organised by the 9th NEC of IYC was well attended by all structures of council, the 5th Mobile Parliament of Council led by Rt. Hon. Bob Collins Igetei, all Zonal and chapters leadeship, clan structures and other critical stakeholders were present.

Meanwhile, as a follow up, the Ijaw Youth Council had visited High Chief (Dr.) Oweizide Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo and Chief (Dr) Edwin Kiagbodo Clark as critical stakeholders of Ijaw nation to brief them on the development.

Binebai while addressing the press asserted that the visit to brief leaders in Ijaw will continue as more leaders will be reached in the coming days.