Bayelsa lawmaker, Fred Agbedi commends Buhari, Senate Ethics and Petition Committee for restoring Atala Marginal Field to Bayelsa State, says the dispute was a sore narrative in the history of the oil industry in Nigeria
A member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Fred Agbedi, has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate for ordering a restoration of the disputed Atala Marginal Field to Bayelsa State.
The Bayelsa lawmaker representing Sagbama Ekeremor Federal Constituency in the Green Chamber gave the commendation on behalf of his colleagues at a briefing in Abuja.
According to him: “I wish to, on behalf of my people, convey our sincere commendation to the Senate Committee on Ethics and Petitions and specifically, the Senate President and the entire Senate for standing up for what is right and restoring hope as a Senate of the people.”
“The issue of the Atala field dispute was a sore narrative in the history of the oil industry in Nigeria. Hence we are so happy that a thorough investigation has exposed the heels of a demonic deal. It is also important to thank the President, Muhammadu Buhari, and the governor of Bayelsa, HE Governor Duoye Diri and their efforts that ensured that justice was served. This is because an injustice to Bayelsa State, the Jerusalem of Ijaw land, is an injustice to the entire Ijaw nation who stood in defence of the restoration of the Atala Marginal Field,”. he said.|
“This commendation is borne out of my sincere conviction and belief that the decision is just, patriotic, selfless, equitable and in accordance with good conscience. I wish to urge that the perpetrators of this act be brought to justice through the law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies as a way of strengthening our institutions.
The Atala Marginal Field was allocated to the Bayelsa State government and was managed by Bayelsa Oil Company. Sometime in 2021, we got to know that Atala Farms, which was allocated to Bayelsa, has been reallocated to another company. Bayelsa and the Ijaw nation and my Federal Constituency rose in protest against it.
Mr President, some time ago, also ordered that 10 of such marginal fields that were allocated to the states, should be returned back to the states. Nine were returned. Only Bayelsa Atala Farms was not returned, and this was what caused the Bayelsa government, the Bayelsa Oil Company and our investors to petition to the Senate Committee on Petition and Ethics.
Even within the hearing period, Mr President further ordered that these blocs be returned to the Bayelsa State government, the owners of the oil bloc. This had not happened until the Senate finally last week had resolved through proper investigation and hearings, found out that all the issues canvassed as to purchase, as to sales, and as to ownership by the new company, Halkin Oil was fraudulent.
“And so the Senate resolved that the oil bloc should be restored back to Bayelsa State Government which is almost a last bus stop because, from the Executive arm of government, it has gone to the legislature, the legislature has also affirmed that this oil bloc should be restored to Bayelsa.
And, of course, as a representative of where the oil block is found and where it is located, it is important that I stand on behalf of the people to appreciate what the legislature has done as well as what the Executive has done and to urge further that this process should be completed. No stumbling block should be found again in the course of restoring this oil bloc.
And of course, if the Senate, in their finding, found out that the narrative for which Halkin or whichever partner claimed that the oil blocs belonged to them was fraudulent, then of course, for us to strengthen our institutions, we need to hand over such individuals or corporate organisations to the anti-corruption agencies and law enforcement agencies so that criminal investigation would be cost and then where culprits are identified, they should be prosecuted. It is only by so doing that our institutions are so strengthened and that is why I am here to speak to the press”.