An elderstateman, Chief Edwin Clark, has urged the Federal Government to open up the existing platforms and frameworks to accommodate more people from the Niger Delta in the allocation of oil blocs.
Clark, who is the National leader, Pan-Niger Delta Forum, made the plea while speaking with newsmen on Wednesday in Kiagbodo, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta.
He said that Niger Delta indigenes were not given priority in the allocation of oil blocs in spite of being directly affected by the impact of oil and gas exploration activities.
He said: “It has become more pertinent and expedient that the Federal Government, without delay, should open up the existing platforms and frameworks to accommodate more people from the Niger Delta.
“This will, in no small measure, check the socio-economic and related challenges in the region.
“We are aware that about 50 oil blocs and marginal fields will expire in 2019. These marginal fields should be divested to indigenous companies.
“Also, the Federal Government should henceforth, as a matter of strategic priority, approve its granting to Niger Delta indigenes.
“The state governments in the Niger Delta zone should be given the Right of First Refusal in the renewal and award of new oil licenses.’’
He decried the infrastructural deficit in the oil-rich region in spite of its huge contribution to the economic sustenance of the country.