Gen Emein (retd)
April 8, 2005
Emma Amaize And Emma Arubi
FORMER Military Administrator of Niger State, Brigadier General Cletus Emein (retd) has called on the Federal Government to ensure that oil companies operating in the Niger Delta implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which they signed with the respective oil communities in the region to check recurring crisis between the multinationals and the communities.
He told Vanguard in an interview that "because the Federal Government has brought soldiers to protect these oil facilities , the oil companies take undue advantage of the situation to avoid jaw-jaw forgetting that what they are doing amount to taking the rights of the owners of the community of the land."
"In fact, the government should ensure that once an oil company has an undertaking, it should comply with it and they should be given maximum time to comply after which if anything happens, they should be left to face the wrath", the retired army officer who is the chairman of the Izon (Ijaw) Elders Council in Delta State said.
Brig. Gen Emein pointed out, however, that "I am not saying that it is right for people to take up arms and go to confront these companies. Dialogue is the only best way out."
He suggested that obnoxious laws enacted by the Federal Government on the ownership of oil belonging to the communities should be repealed even as he frowned at the distance of the Federal High Court , empowered to adjudicate cases involving oil companies from the riverside areas where the people stay.
"The Federal Government said that all oil related issues are the prerogative of the Federal High Court only. And there is no Federal High Court in Delta State. The closest one is in Edo State. If these obnoxious laws are not there, people would sue the oil companies concerned. Also disturbing is the fact that even f the court is handy, the time it takes to get justice is long", he further said.