From Fred Itua, Abuja

Legal practitioner Blessing Agbomhere has appealed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to intervene in the controversial divestment of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) assets to a consortium of five companies. Agbomhere argues that the process violates the Petroleum Industry Act, the 1999 Constitution, and other laws.

In a letter dated May 9, 2024, Agbomhere, representing Niger Delta indigenes, expresses dissatisfaction with the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission’s opaque process that excluded companies owned by Niger Delta indigenes. He warns that failure to address this issue could lead to renewed agitations and youth restiveness in the region.

Agbomhere highlights SPDC’s extensive operations in the Niger Delta, including over 6,000 kilometres of pipelines and over 1,000 producing wells. He notes the company’s history of environmental contamination through oil spills.

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He details the divestment process, which involved several companies expressing interest, including those with Niger Delta indigenes as majority shareholders. However, the assets are reportedly being sold to a consortium of five companies whose majority shareholders are all from one tribe.

Agbomhere argues that this exclusion violates the Constitution, the Petroleum Industry Act, the Nigeria Local Content Act, the Federal Character Act, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He criticizes the lack of transparency and due process in the bidding and award process.

He warns that the exclusion of Niger Delta indigenes could ignite strife and threaten national security. He urges President Tinubu to declare the divestment process illegal and instruct SPDC and the Commission to divest 50% of the assets to a group of Niger Delta indigenes.

Agbomhere concludes by appealing to President Tinubu’s commitment to the Renewed Hope Agenda and his ability to do justice to all Nigerians, regardless of their tribal affiliation. He expresses hope that the president will address the concerns of the Niger Delta people and provide them with a sense of hope.