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Bluestar pullout: ERA seeks sale reversal for Egbin, Others
Monday, 23 July 2007

Press Release

The reported withdrawal of Bluestar Oil Services Limited from the purchase of Port Harcourt and Kaduna refineries has reinforced the need for a reversal of all national assets hurriedly sold at the twilight of the General Olusegun Obasanjo administration, Environmental Rights Action /Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has said.


In a statement issued yesterday in Lagos, ERA/FoEN listed the national assets to include several oil blocks, Egbin Thermal Station, and National Theatre, among others.

It alleged that the manner in which the entire exercise was carried out revealed that the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) was used by the immediate past administration to sell the refineries to its cronies and friends without due process.

"Nigerians were embarrassed at the hurried sale of those public assets on the eve of Obasanjo's exit. Those assets were sold at ridiculous prices and the only way to go for this government is to reverse this economic rape on the country and return the assets to the people," said Nnimmo Bassey, ERA/FoEN Executive Director.

On the Bluestar pull out, ERA condemned the consortium for giving the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) a 12-month ultimatum to rehabilitate the refineries or that it will seek to take them over again.

"We consider that statement an affront on the sensibilities of the Nigerian people, who are the original owners of these assets. The issue is that Bluestar used the backdoor to acquire the refineries. They are supposed to be answering criminal charges along with their BPE collaborators over the whole transaction.

"We want the government to come out clearly that the Bluestar take over of the Port Harcourt and Kaduna refineries has been revoked. Bluestar and their collaborators have no such right whatsoever to dictate how the Nigerian people will manage their assets," he added.

ERA however charge the NNPC to immediately clean itself up and  begin a total rehabilitation of the refineries. It also demanded that the Corporation should pay strict attention to the environment of its fence-line communities, pointing out that communities like Ubeji in Delta State have had their streams, creeks and lands highly polluted by dumping of untreated and very toxic wastes.

NNPC should both detoxify such contaminated communities and put in place measures to forestall future harmful impacts, ERA added.

Akinbode Oluwafemi
Programme Manager

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