The governor of Douye Diri of Bayelsa on Sunday lauded the resolution of the Senate mandating return of the Atala Marginal Oilfield owned by the state government.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on Thursday, after investigating the controversial revocation and sale of the Oil Mining Licence 46 (OML 46) to a private firm, resolved that the oilfield be returned to its original owners.
The committee stated that the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Resources Commission, NUPRC, formerly Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, failed to show evidence that the President directed the award of the oilfield to a private firm.
It also chided the NUPRC for disobeying a presidential directive that the original owners of the oilfield be given the right of first refusal in the award of OML 46 in accordance with best practice.
In a statement issued in Yenagoa by Mr Diri’s Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, on Sunday, the governor said the Senate’s decision met the expectation of the state government and the Bayelsa people.
He restated the position of the government that the oilfield was a prized asset of the state and that the people were sentimentally attached to it.
Mr Diri maintained that the April 2020 revocation and the eventual sale of the asset were controversially done and that it shocked people of the state.
The governor said he presented the state’s position at his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja last Wednesday and that the President assured him that the issue would be urgently treated.
He urged the people of Bayelsa to remain patient while awaiting the decision of the President on the matter.