Akwa Ibom: Militants Kill Oil Worker, Injure 2 as Group Calls for Transparency in Marginal Fields Bidding

One person was allegedly killed and two others injured by gunmen suspected to be militants in Unyenge community of Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State during an early morning attack of Universal Energy Resources Limited.

Spokesman for the Police in the state, Odiko Macdon, a Superintendent of Police, says militants attacked Universal Energy Resources Ltd killing one, while two persons were injured.

This is coming as Policy Alert, a civic group that promotes economic and ecological justice in the Niger Delta is calling on Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), to be transparent in the bidding processes of the 2020 marginal field which has come to a close by the commission.

Executive Director of the group, Tijah Bolton-Akpan, in a statement in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom capital said, “as the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) moves to close the 2020 marginal field bid rounds, we are concerned over the opacity that has marked the implementation of the round up until now.

‘’We therefore call on the Commission to promptly release to the public the identity of successful awardees, and details of the corresponding fields, fees and signature bonuses collected so far. The government of Nigeria has made serious commitments on anti-corruption and extractive sector transparency at the level of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI). It is crucial that the bid round is made to conform with these global standards as well as with the transparency and accountability provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021. We are particularly keen on seeing how the Commission will align its work on the bid round with recent contract transparency and beneficial ownership reforms.”

On the delays to the bid round, the statement signed by the media officer, Nneka Luke-Ndumere noted: “We see the protracted 2020 Marginal Field Bid Rounds as a blessing in disguise since it has provided the opportunity for aligning the round with the PIA 2021.

“In 2020, Policy Alert had highlighted some of the weaknesses in the Bid Round Guidelines. But with the PIA 2021, the regulators and companies have now come under relatively more progressive obligations as it relates to contract disclosure, beneficial ownership transparency, community development and environmental management.”

Adding, Policy Alert said, “if effectively implemented, these new requirements could enable the bid round to become a veritable instrument for boosting Nigeria’s oil-derived receipts and improving the development of oil-producing communities. We are excited that the Commission has announced transitional mechanisms to align the round with the PIA 2021 but, our expectation is that it will do so in a manner that is open, engaging and non-discriminatory.”

In the meantime, Macdon, who confirmed the attack, told newsmen that the incident happened at early hours of Thursday, January 20 at Unyenge in Mbo, where the company is located.

“We have received a distressed call that militants have attacked UERL staff at Unyenge in Mbo LGA.
We got a report that there was an ambush which led to the death of the driver, while two others were left with injury’’, the police said.

Already, Commissioner of Police, Amiengheme Andrew, has ordered a discreet investigation into the matter already. “As l speak, the operation is underway”, says the police spokesman.

An indigene of the area, Unwana Assam, also said, one of the victims was receiving treatment at a hospital in Eket Local Government Area adding that, the victim who escaped dead explained that two persons were killed during the attack at Mbo.

“One of the victims (name withheld), from Esit Eket Local Government Area told me that the attack was in Mbo and later sent pictures and location of the attack to me”.

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